It appears as though Capitals' Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin has drawn a line in the sand with the NHL in terms of Olympic participation.
ESPN.com is reporting that the reigning Hart Trophy winner plans on participating in the Olympic hockey competition at the 2014 Winter games in Sochi, Russia, stating that he will risk suspension to play for his country even if the NHL is not formally involved.
"Nobody can say to me you can't play for your country in the Olympic Games," Ovechkin told ESPN.com.
"I don't care," Ovechkin continued. "I'll go play in the Olympic Games for my country. If somebody says to me you can't play, see ya."
The NHL has no commitment to take part in the Olympics past the upcoming Winter Games in Vancouver in February, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has intimated that it is likely that the Vancouver games will be the final Olympics which the NHL sends athletes. Bettman has stated he plans to discuss the issue with the Players Association following the Vancouver Olympics to go over the advantages and disadvantages of continued participation.
The NHLPA has repeatedly stated that they fully support continued participation.