The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver aren’t even here and already we may have a battle coming for the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia. But it’s shaping up to be not country vs. country, but Ovechkin vs. NHL.
Ovie told ESPN.com during an interview today that he will risk suspension and play for his country regardless of whether the NHL is formally involved or not.
“Nobody can say to me you can’t play for your country in the Olympic Games,” Ovechkin said.
The NHL has no commitment to take part in the Olympic games after next year’s celebration, which has some players questioning what to do. “I’ll go play in the Olympic Games for my country. If somebody says to me you can’t play, see ya.”
Even if it meant suspension by the Caps?
“I don’t care,” he said.
It’s quite possible Ovie may lead a movement – provided this even escalates that far. There’d be a lot of public pressure back home for the other Russian players to follow Ovie’s lead, which may even bleed to affect other hockey nations. Ovechkin hinted in his interview that his fellow countrymen may have a similar mindset.
“Who can say you can’t play for your country in the Olympic Games? I think it’s … stupid,” he said. “Somebody don’t like it, see you next year.”
As a big hockey fan – and I love Olympic hockey – I can’t agree more with Ovie on this one.