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Av's players disappointed on National Hockey League decision not to participate in 2018 Olympics

08 April 2017

Koivu has represented Finland in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, winning a silver and two bronze medals.

Russian Vladimir Tarasenko, who participated in the Sochi Olympics in 2014, is one of eight potential Olympians on the Blues who will be affected by the decision.

Washington Capitals star left wing Alex Ovechkin, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Chicago Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were among the NHL players who expressed dissatisfaction with the league's announcement Monday that it will not participate in the upcoming Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. So I wouldn't be surprised.

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Some players, however, have already said they would play in Pyeongchang no matter what and the NHL's decision also earned a rebuke from the players' union. "It's a little disappointing". Now it's the top players on the men's side who are involved in a contentious issue that could significantly reduce the number of recognizable names at next year's Olympics in South Korea. But going for a second time, to have that chance would be nice. "I can't do anything about it". But look beyond February of 2018 and ahead to September 2019, when both the NHL and NHL Players Association can opt out of the current collective-bargaining agreement, and it's not hard to see where the NHL is headed.

Johnny Gaudreau would have been a shoo-in to skate for Team USA. It's the best people in the world from every country. You can bet his national-team officials have heard the chatter that he deserves consideration for the Selke Trophy.

The decision, however, has meant the sport has lost a major opportunity to showcase itself in new markets, the NHLPA said.

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Sounds eerily similar to the old NBA-Olympic basketball rules before the Dream Team showed us how to enjoy Olympic basketball. "Obviously, they (NHL) wanted more money or whatever; we do not know what they really wanted", IOC President Thomas Bach told reporters in Aarhus on Tuesday. In the interim, commissioner Gary Bettman has instructed teams not to comment on the subject. The game of hockey is not exclusively the NHL's domain; it belongs to the world and the NHL is successful because it is home to the vast majority of the world's best hockey players, and fans are willing to pay to watch them play.

It's awful for the sport, not just because of the big-picture opportunity lost but because of what it might do to future labor negotiations. But for the World Cup it's OK.

Tampa Bay's Anton Stralman got right to the point. "A few billionaires trying to make an extra buck". "But I know some guys have been vocal about going regardless". The NHL may believe it is penalizing the International Olympic Committee or the players, or both, for not giving the owners some meaningful concessions in order to induce them to agree to go to Pyeongchang.

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And, frankly, you'd be hard-pressed to find better hockey than Olympic hockey. "Playing against the best, it's always a big challenge and for me personally, it's a great thing to be a part of".