Pre-game reading: Go to Olympics ‘at your own peril’

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— Up top, at least Grapes is happy with the NHL’s Olympics decision.

Alex Ovechkin says he’s going to South Korea in 2018, and he’s going “no matter what.” But a Toronto sports lawyer has a warning for any player thinking similarly: “Do so at your own peril. You are going to be putting yourself in breach of the contract you have signed with your team, which has been collectively bargained. You are putting yourself at the risk of being suspended, terminated, liable for damages to your club for the games that you miss.” (CBC Sports)

— NHLPA chief Donald Fehr has been criticized for not collectively bargaining Olympic participation for the players. So, what does he have to say about that? Fehr: “If the notion is that players will just say, ‘Oh well. This is too bad that the CBA didn’t provide for it,’ or ‘We wish it were different,’ and we can just go on with life as usual or as if this hadn’t happened – I think that’s a very, very, very unlikely possibility.” Translation: The next negotiations between the players and league should be interesting. (FanRag)

— Elliotte Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts” includes a vote of confidence for Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill from GM Ken Holland: “[Blashill] went to the USHL and won a championship. He went to an NCAA program (Western Michigan) and revived it. He won the Calder Cup in the AHL, and other teams were starting to take notice. His resume indicates he will be successful.” (Sportsnet)

Jaromir Jagr drops some life wisdom in a Q&A with Pierre LeBrun: “Everybody in the world has ups and downs in their lives. It’s probably 50-50. It’s what they call yin and yang. You have 50 great days and 50 bad days. The only thing you can control is how you look at it. You know you’re going to have bad days, but if you look at them in a positive way, it helps. Same with the great players. They’ll have bad games, but they know how to make something positive out of bad days.” (ESPN)

— What should the Flyers do with Steve Mason? A good question. The 28-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent, and he hasn’t had the greatest season. (CSN Philly)

Enjoy the games!