LOS ANGELES – Edmonton Oilers superstar captain Connor McDavid voiced frustration but not defiance of the NHL’s decision to not shut down for two weeks to allow players to go to the 2018 Olympics.
McDavid answered several questions about the topic Tuesday at Staples Center after the Oilers morning skate before their game at the Los Angeles Kings. His tone was somber but lacked the anger of some other players on the topic.
“It’s disappointing. I think that’s easy to say,” McDavid said.
The choice by the league impacts McDavid to a large degree in part because he’d have to wait until the 2020 World Cup at the earliest to play for Team Canada in a best-on-best tournament. And even that’s not a guarantee since he’d still be of age to play on Team North America again – though the league may dump the entire TNA concept.
Several current and former NHL players, such as Sidney Crosby, Ryan Miller, Peter Forsberg and Dominik Hasek to name a few strengthened their legacies with strong performances at the Olympics. McDavid, who leads the NHL in scoring, may not have that chance until 2022 in Beijing at the absolute earliest. The NHL started going to the Games in 1998 in Nagano.
Below are the quotes from McDavid’s media availability.
Q: What’s your take on the decision? You now won’t be able to play for Team Canada in a best-on-best until maybe 2020 with the World Cup?
McDAVID: It’s disappointing. I think that’s easy to say. Just the opportunity to chase down a spot on Team Canada and be able to represent my country. Obviously the Olympics is the greatest sporting event in the world. Not to be able to do that is disappointing but there’s a lot of people higher up making those decisions.
Did you want to be in the Olympics as a kid? Did you want to be like Crosby in 2010 with the Golden Goal?
Of course, the Olympics was always something that I looked forward to. The hockey is the biggest sport there – I think. Obviously I’m a little bit biased in that opinion but I think you look at those great moments like Sid. Those are the goals you dream of as a kid scoring. Not being able to have that opportunity is, like I keep saying, is disappointing. Not much else to say about it.
Where were you when Sid scored that goal?
I was watching it at a teammate’s house. We had a big team party with all the parents and all that. I just remember the excitement, it was such a special moment that I’ll never forget.
Everyone’s had their turn like Sid’s had his turn and the older guys. Do you feel like you’re getting ripped off? This was in your future and now it’s not.
It’s disappointing for all the young guys in the league. (Jack) Eichel, (Auston) Matthews, (Aaron) Ekblad, the list goes on and on and all these young guys that are trying to make their mark on hockey and they may not be able to get their chance to on the international stage. That part of it is a little bit upsetting but there’s a lot different ways you can do that.
Would you go? Would you want to go anyway?
I’ve been focusing on the team right now. The announcement just came out yesterday. I haven’t had much time to think about it. At this point I’m in no position to make a statement like that.
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