Alexander Ovechkin

© AP Photo/Nick Wass, File

MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. The Russian forward “Washington” Alexander Ovechkin said that going to play in the Olympics in 2018 contrary to the decision of the National hockey League (NHL), which announced Monday that it will not make a break for the Olympic games in regular season-2017/18, which the players League will not be able to participate in the Games.

“I change my mind, I’m going to the Olympics regardless of the decision of the NHL. Everyone wants to be there,” said 31-year-old Ovechkin, quoted in ESPN. “I admit that this is a bluff, nothing is clear, the calendar of the next season yet,” added the best Russian sniper in NHL history. For the first time Ovechkin has announced that he will travel to Pyeongchang, regardless of the decision of the League, in September of 2016 before the world Cup .

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The NHL claims that “the vast majority” of clubs has opposed the interruption of the regular season for the Olympics, but it seems that “Washington” not one of them. In February, Ovechkin’s desire to play in South Korea was supported by the owner “capitals” Ted Leonsis. “How can I stop it, lock in the room? If he does leave, then leave,” he said, Leonsis in an interview to the official website of the NHL.

Ovechkin is not the only Russian hockey player to talk openly about ignoring the position in the NHL: then did his teammate – 24-year-old forward Evgeny Kuznetsov. “I hope that the NHL will solve all the issues, but even if not – I want to be there,” he said. Kuznetsov said that to go to the Olympics, despite the position of the NHL.

Can play in the Olympics and the defender of “Washington” Dmitry Orlov, which, however, no review has ever made, and his agent mark Gandler told TASS that the decision on whether to go to the Olympics, the hockey player will take later, as now “one hundred percent focused on the playoffs”. And in Kuznetsov and Orlov terms of agreements with Washington expires after the end of season 2016/17, respectively, the non-admission of NHL players to the Olympics can have a significant impact on the negotiations on the extension of their contracts.

Striker “Pittsburgh” Yevgeny Malkin, the most valuable player of the NHL 2011-12 season, also expressed dissatisfaction with the act of the League, but there were no promises about the one part in the Olympics. “I want to believe and hope that still has something to change, there is still time to weigh and consider,” said he TASS. In a similar vein were made by another “star” player, Russian forward “St. Louis” Vladimir Tarasenko. “I agree with the players who are disappointed with the decision, but we have existing contracts,” said Tarasenko, whose words leads edition St. Louis Today.

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Legal problems

Obstacles to the performances of Ovechkin and other Russian players in Pyeongchang much. If in 2016 the NHL said that decisions about whether to release or not to release players for the Olympics, make clubs, but now the position of the League has changed. So, after the statement which was made on Monday, the NHL told the clubs not to discuss with the players the situation with the Games in 2018 to the relevant directives. And most importantly – there are rules of the NHL, assuming for clubs sanctions in the form of fines for violation of the rules of the championship and for players – penalties in the form of suspensions for willfully ignoring the League. Moreover, if a hockey player will go to the Olympics without the permission of the club and the NHL, you won’t get a transfer card, without which participation in the Games is impossible.

“We need to understand the legal side of the issue, and it is – without a signature of Gary Bettman (Commissioner of the NHL – approx. TASS) and bill Daley (the Vice-President of the League), no player from the League’s not going anywhere, it does not matter what his nationality. They will not be able to transfer the card, and without it the player cannot play in international competitions”, – told TASS Vice-President of Federation of hockey of Russia Roman Rotenberg.

Based on the current situation, the most effective way to play in the Olympics for the Russian players in the NHL is moving to another championship, for example, in the Kontinental hockey League (KHL), which, as TASS said its President, Dmitry Chernyshenko, to abandon the Olympics is not going to make in your regular season a special pause for the period of the Games. But in this case the players who decided to sacrifice a career overseas, you will have to pay the NHL clubs that they stand for, solid compensation, for example, Ovechkin’s contract with “Washington” is calculated up to 2021 and provides for a salary of $9.5 million per year.

This season the NHL has played and continues to play 40 players from Russia. While many of them – like the aforementioned Kuznetsov and Orlov – agreement with the club expires after the season 2016/17, that is to move to the KHL they can painless. Besides Kuznetsov and Orlov, defenders Nikita Zadorov, Nikita Zaitsev, Dmitry Kulikov, Andrei Markov, Fedor Tyutin, Nikita Tryamkin, Nikita Nesterov and forwards Alexander Radulov, nail Yakupov, Sergei Kalinin, Alexander Burmistrov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Roman Lyubimov. Not all of them are the leading roles in the NHL, so return one of them to Russia for one season for the Olympics it looks quite a likely scenario.

Team Russia will not abandon the NHL players

The closest major tournament teams will be the world Championships to be held in Germany and France since 5 to may 21. If at the Olympics the 2018 NHL players may not be at all, to perform at the world championship as they were never banned, and never will be banned. There will come those whose clubs are in the playoffs of the Stanley Cup, or flew in the early stages.

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Head coach of Russia Oleg Znarok said that the team is not going to give up NHL players, despite the decision of the League. “The decision did not affect our preparation – we originally had two plans, one of which was designed for that NHL players don’t attend the Games, we continue to prepare to work on it normally. After the Olympic team will play two games of Eurochallenge in Chelyabinsk, the preparations for the world Cup will start the national team, which will be based on the decision of the NHL. But this does not mean that we completely abandon the players of this League for the upcoming world Cup,” said Znarok.

“We will take the best, but from the KHL, apparently, more because ahead of the Olympic games. There is no question that we will not take players from the NHL, but will be more players from the NHL. If Ovechkin or Kucherov will fly out of the playoffs, are we to not take them?”, – said in turn the President of the FHR Vladislav Tretiak.

The first Olympics without the NHL in the twenty-first century

The NHL became to interrupt the regular season for the Olympic games since 1998. Since then, the Olympic hockey tournament was played 706 NHL. In 1998, the gold of the Games won by the Czech team in the final with the score 1:0 defeated the team of Russia. In 2002, 2010 and 2014 were won by the Canadians, in 2006, the Swedes won.

Silver Nagano-1998 – highest achievement of the Russian team at the Olympics. In 2002, the Russians were third, and in 2006, 2010 and 2014 remained without medals. According to experts, if NHL players don’t go in Pyeongchang, the Russian team will be the favorite Games.