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Alex Ovechkin statement on the Winter Olympics

From the Washington Capitals:

Below is a personal message written by Alex Ovechkin that he asked the Washington Capitals to release on his behalf:

"I wanted to make this statement so that my words are clear and nobody misunderstands what I am saying.  The Olympics are in my blood and everybody knows how much I love my country. Ever since I was a kid and all the time I have played in the NHL, NHL players have played in the Olympic Games. We never have to make choice between our team and our country my whole career. I love the Capitals and my teammates here as much as I love my country and I know all the other NHL players feel the same for their teams. We should not have to be in position to make this choice.

My mom was a two-time Olympic champion and when I start to play hockey I dream that if I have chance to play for my country I will do it every time they ask me. Ever since I was teenager I have played for Junior Russia National team whenever they ask me to. Ever since I was good enough to play on Men's National Team, whenever they ask me I play.   When they ask me to be part of Olympics Closing Ceremony in Vancouver before Sochi get the Olympic Games I said ok let's do it.   When they ask me to be Ambassador for Sochi Olympic Games I did it. When they ask me to go to Greece and be first Russian to carry Olympic flame on way to Sochi I do it.   When they ask me to play in World Cup I do it. I am proud that we win on Junior team and for the National team in World Championships but we do not win the most important thing yet. Olympic Gold Medal.

I see the news this week and I am very disappointed that IOC, IIHF and NHL put me and all NHL players in this position when some of the best players in world do not have chance to play in the Olympic Games. This is not just about me but all the NHL players who want to play and have a chance to win Gold for their country. Our countries are now not allowed to ask us to play in the Olympics. Me, my teammates and all players who want to go all lose. So do all the fans of hockey with this decision that we are not allowed to be invited. NHL players in the Olympics is good for hockey and good for Olympics. It sucks that will we not be there to play!!

I said every time I was asked since last Olympics that nobody is going to tell me I can't play because my country was going to be allowed to ask me. Now the IIHF and NHL say my country is not allowed to ask anybody in the NHL to play and there is nothing to talk about anymore. I talk to Ted about this last year and he support me and have my back and understand what I want to do if I was allowed to be asked to go. Me and my family thank him for his support.

There is nothing like Olympic Games. It is still my dream to win an Olympic Gold medal for my country. I hope things will change and all of us will have a chance to go again in 2022. What's most important to remember is kids have lots of dreams. My focus as it always is this time of year is on my other dream as a kid, to try to win the Stanley Cup. I am excited training camp has started in Washington and the time for talking is done.  We just have to go out and do it and I will try my hardest to help my teammates win like I do every year since I came to the NHL."

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: 2018+winter+olympics, alex+ovechkin, washington+captials


Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

Well said Alex.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 09/14/17 at 11:52 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

In fact…. on the way to the bar tonight i was behind a pickup in Kalamazoo. It had a Tigers logo sticker and a Lions logo sticker on the back window. How come no Red Wings? The teamthat has been the most successful in Detroit for the last 30 or so years. Why Gary? Trying to keep Hockey a farking secret?

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 09/14/17 at 11:58 PM ET


There is nothing more gorgeous than watching more hockey. NHL players not going to olympic tournament means there will be 2 great hockeys going on at the same time. It will be more exciting to see amateurs, underdogs, outofnowheres than teams built upon predictable and boring process of selection of the roster where hierarchy, rankings, pecking orders would be known long before the start of the tournament.

Posted by tutoka from Leelanau Peninsula on 09/15/17 at 02:57 AM ET

topshelf14's avatar

The Olympixs is meant to feature the greatest athletes in the world and for hockey this time around we are being denied that.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 09/15/17 at 06:57 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Negotiate for it next time.

Posted by ilovehomers on 09/15/17 at 07:06 AM ET


Posted by tutoka on 09/15/17 at 02:57 AM ET

Well said.

Once the NHL figures out how to make money on the Olympics they’ll be back.  And I have a suspicion that it’ll be just in time for the 2022 games.


Posted by Steve1306 on 09/15/17 at 08:11 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Negotiate for it next time.

That’s precisely what this is about.
Bettman is trying to gain advantages in the current CBA by allowing the players to play in the Olympics.

The owners also don’t want it because they have to shut down their business for 3 weeks, risk injuries to their most important assets and have data which shows the Olympics don’t do anything to promote the sport.

So once again, this decision comes down to money.
It sucks for hockey fans, but NHL owners and managers don’t give a crap about the fans.
We continue to pack buildings and drive revenue up for the NHL. They have literally crapped in our mouths with two lockouts (one wiping out an entire season) and the fans not only didn’t complain, they asked for more.

There will be a lockout in 2022 and I guarantee it won’t do anything to stop the annual increase in league revenue.

What drives me nuts is that the game has never been more conservative and yet, again, revenue’s increase.
The BOG’s must laugh and cheer while sipping on champagne glasses filled with the tears of orphans.
There is no level of abuse they can heap on their fans which would result in loss of revenue.
The entire league is like Detroit Lions fans.

Posted by Hank1974 on 09/15/17 at 08:12 AM ET


I see it only taking a few big names to go to the olympics instead of playing for their teams and the policy would change.  They wouldn’t be able to contain it if AO, Cindy, Tavares and 1 or 2 more say ” we are going. See you in a few weeks”

Now that would be a fkn statement.

Posted by SlimChance on 09/15/17 at 09:16 AM ET


Nice statement Alex.

Now imagine if you’d released it when it could’ve actually been meaningful and useful and actually made some kind of a difference, instead of waiting until the decision had already been made.

Maybe if he’d stepped up and released an official statement six months before the decision was made (or four months, or three months, or a month, or a week, or the day before), we might’ve seen a groundswell of support from players who didn’t want to be the first one to speak out but might be emboldened by one of the sport’s biggest stars to follow suit and make the decision a more difficult and public on.

He had 3+ years to make an official statement and he decides to wait until after the decision’s already been made? And after all this posturing about “nobody’s going to stop me from playing in the Olympics”? What a joke.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 09/15/17 at 09:20 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

@SlimChance, that would be awesome.
Imagine if every team lost a couple top-6 forwards and top-pairing dmen to the Olympics?
What would the NHL do?
Suspend them? So now ticket holders already have to spend 2 weeks without their best/favourite players, only to lose them for x-amount of games when they get back?
I want to say the NHL doesn’t have the balls to do something like that, but they seem to be pretty giddy about cancelling whole seasons, so who knows.

But I would love to see this happen. A player’s Olympic coup, where the best players take off, would be close to what the NHL did in ‘04/05 by locking them out for a whole season.

Posted by Hank1974 on 09/15/17 at 10:19 AM ET

Paul's avatar

My thoughts too SC, but recently the IIHF says they will not allow players under contract in the NHL to play, sighting an agreement with the NHL.

Plus Hockey Canada and USA Hockey have said the same thing.

Good idea and I would like to see top names rebel and go to South Korea, but it isn’t going to happen.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/15/17 at 10:22 AM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

The owners also don’t want it because they have to shut down their business for 3 weeks
Posted by Hank1974 on 09/15/17 at 08:12 AM ET

I generally agree with your position, but this shutting down the business thing is BS. It’s not much different from the summer break. Yes, they suspend games for three weeks mid-season, but they still do play a full schedule; they still sell merch; they still spin PR.  On the flip side, they do compress the schedule, but also extend the season. So nothing is really being lost except time. It’s really about trying to bully their way into a piece of that Olympic gold mine.

So once again, this decision comes down to money.


Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 09/15/17 at 11:19 AM ET


The guy makes 9.5 million dollars a year to work for the Capitals. Conversation over.

Posted by hotnickels on 09/15/17 at 12:11 PM ET


Thanks for ending the conversation

Posted by SlimChance on 09/15/17 at 01:01 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

The guy makes 9.5 million dollars a year to work for the Capitals. Conversation over.

Posted by hotnickels on 09/15/17 at 12:11 PM ET

Thanks for ending the conversation

Posted by SlimChance on 09/15/17 at 01:01 PM ET


Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 09/15/17 at 03:03 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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