TORONTO -- Alex Ovechkin says he plans on playing for Russia in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, regardless of whether or not the NHL is participating.
The Washington Capitals superstar made similar comments ahead of the Sochi Games when the NHL and NHL Players' Association hadn't yet signed off on those Olympics before finally doing just that, with Ovechkin saying he'd risk NHL suspension to play in his home Olympics.
Asked Thursday by ESPN if he would be willing to play in South Korea regardless of the NHL's ultimate Olympic decision, Ovechkin didn't hesitate.
"My decision is the same," Ovechkin said. "So, I don't know what's going to happen right now, but we just have to wait what they say and we'll see. ...
"It's a situation where you don't know what's going to happen. But obviously I said I'm going to play.''
Asked again by ESPN about whether he was saying he's definitely planning on playing in South Korea, no matter NHL involvement, Ovechkin responded calmly and matter of factly:
"I will go there,'' he said.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday in Washington that it's been radio silence on the Olympic question since a meeting last year, however, all sides would likely meet during the World Cup to discuss things.
The NHL has participated in the Olympics since the 1998 Nagano Games. However, according to the NHL, new IOC leadership has expressed hesitance in covering costs it has paid in the past such as travel and insurance for players.