WASHINGTON — The NHL won’t be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics, but Alex Ovechkin will be.
After the final verdict was announced, Ovechkin confirmed what he foreshadowed many months ago, that he still plans to participate in the 2018 games despite the league’s position.
Capitals coach Barry Trotz offered his reaction during his weekly appearance with The Sports Junkies on Wednesday.
“I give Ovi props for being the one guy, the first to stand up and say ‘I’m going,'” Jason Bishop said.
“That’s one thing that you know and I know and I’ve spoken about,” Trotz said. “Ovi is not shy about expressing himself and I think that’s a great trait about Ovi, is that he’s upfront. He’s honest. As they say, sometimes honest to a fault. It gets him in some trouble, but I think that’s what everybody loves about Ovi.”
“So what are they gonna do?” Eric Bickel asked. “They’re gonna retire, and then go play, and then un-retire?”
“No, I don’t think they’ll retire,” Trotz said. “I don’t know how it’s gonna play out, but I know if they probably do go to the Olympics, there’s insurance issues that they probably wouldn’t get paid. There’s a lot of different things. But at the same time, I’m sure that they’re going to figure that out.”
“The NHL says that they’re not going, but I think they’ve always done what’s right,” he said. “And I think probably the Players’ Association, the NHL, the IOC — all the people involved — will probably have another kick at the can before it’s all said and done.”
“My stand is we have games,” Trotz said. “My stance is that I understand the players, anybody who’s been a part, or an athlete who has participated in the Olympic Games. I’ve had players who have done that, not only with this team, but in Nashville when I was there. It is one of those experiences that, once you’ve gone, you’d like to go again.
“For people who haven’t — I’ve never gone to the Olympics, but since I was a little boy, I always wanted to go to the Olympic Games. I think the players want that experience, they voiced that opinion, but at the same time, the owners obviously have thought this through thoroughly. I mean, they’ve gone five times.”
“I really can’t worry about it ’til next year, next February,” he said. “But I understand from a player standpoint that they all want that experience. Philipp Grubauer for instance worked really hard this summer to get Germany qualified for the Olympics again. He wants that experience, so it’s okay for the players to voice that.”