Erik Karlsson thinks the NHL’s decision to not go to the 2018 Winter Olympics is a bunch of crap.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will not feature NHL players. Most skaters won’t be joining their countries, though some players have said they’re going regardless. The decision is an unpopular one, especially with fans. However, the players hate it too. Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson gave his two cents on the subject.
"“Crap pretty much,” said Karlsson, via Ottawa Citizen. “I don’t understand the decision. It’s very unfortunate for the game of hockey around the world that they’re going to do this to the sport. I think it’s going to hurt a lot if we don’t end up going. Whoever made that decision obviously has no idea what they’re doing.”"
The league is playing a dangerous game by keeping players from going to the Olympics. Playing for their country is an honor to many players and a lot of people were looking forward to it. Not only does this hurt the Olympics, it also hurts the NHL as a global product.
Hockey is struggling to develop around the world. The last thing it needs is for the best players in the world to not show up on the grandest stage. While the owners are the ones who made the decision, they didn’t consider the players opinion while doing so. Or at the very least, they significantly misunderstood what the players want.
This could get ugly quickly. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has said he’s going regardless of what the NHL decides. Caps majority owner Ted Leonsis claims to support his decision, but will he continue to do so when the league is telling teams to do the opposite? The league could punish players who go, but the players might not care.