Door for NHL players to 2018 Olympics looks shut (even for Ovechkin)

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For most of us, the idea of a miracle deal being reached for NHL players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics has long been buried.

Optimists holding out hope might have seen the final nail driven into the coffin on Wednesday. It doesn’t get much more final than IIHF Rene Fasel telling Reuters that it’s over.

“I can say that this is now gone. We can tick that off the list,” Fasel said. “We will have to look ahead to China and the Beijing 2022 Winter Games because there is an interest of the league and we have noted that.

“But logistically it is practically impossible for Pyeongchang. That train has left the station.”

*Sigh*

Fasel’s comments back up the many assertions of Gary Bettman and the NHL, bringing (sad) closure to this situation.

Granted, there’s at least one detail to consider: what if, say, Alex Ovechkin decided that he would represent Russia, putting his season with the Washington Capitals on hold?

The NHL’s possible response is fuzzy, but the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan passes along a report from R Sport that even Vladislav Tretiak, Olympic legend and head of the Russian Hockey Federation, stated that Ovechkin must realize that he won’t be able to participate.

Hearing that, and word that the IIHF will comply with the NHL’s demands that its players not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, sure seems like it closes the book on this disappointing situation.

Perhaps there will be a different, happier narrative for the 2022 edition?