Report: Ovechkin is still ‘hopeful’ he’ll participate in 2018 Olympics

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Alex Ovechkin is still holding out hope, even though the NHL’s position for months now is that it is not going to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

If that wasn’t enough, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk essentially said there is no chance whatsoever at this point in the summer of the NHL re-arranging its schedule to have its players attend the Games.

“As far as any chance of anything, I do know, it’s a done deal. We’re finished. It’s beyond the point of (no) return because we have our schedule,” Melnyk told Zoomer Radio, per the Ottawa Citizen. “And, now, everybody has been working very hard for the last month to (get ready).

“The schedule is set. The dates are set. All of our fan appreciation days are set. For us, especially, we’re going to Sweden and that’s set. We’re going to have an outdoor game. You can’t move that schedule anymore. There’s 31 teams that are planning things and have planned things. We’re way, way beyond anything to do with 2018. That’s just not going to happen.”

Ovechkin has in the past been defiant, saying he will plan to participate for Russia even if the NHL does not go.

The latest on Monday was that even minor league players on NHL contracts can’t go to the Olympics, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly in conversation with the Associated Press.

And yet, Ovechkin, who is under contract to the Capitals for four more years, is still apparently hoping that he will be able to go represent his country, according to recent reports out of Russia and Washington.

“We’ll hope I’ll be allowed to participate,” he told Sport-Express, according to the Washington Post. “There’s always a chance.”

When the Stanley Cup Final opened in late-May, commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t go into specific details about league policy for NHL players under contract and the Olympics, but said, “We have an expectation that none of our players are going.”

Related: Pre-game reading: Leonsis has Ovechkin’s back on Olympics