It’s looking more and more like the NHL will not head to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea, but certain star players have already come out saying they’ll attend no matter what. Alex Ovechkin in particular has already gotten the support of his owner for going either way, but some might not be so warm to the idea.
No, no, it would be no, a flat no. I talked to [Daniel] Alfredsson about it and he understands the player would want to (attend), but I’m not going to risk that.
It’s a strong statement from Melnyk and the Senators, who also could have Bobby Ryan with an outside shot at the Team USA squad next year. Ryan suited up for the 2010 squad that won a silver medal, though was left off the 2014 team and the latest World Cup squad.
Melnyk might seem like just a cold businessman protecting his financial assets, but it’s more than that. He has a first hand experience with what might happen should he let his stars go.
I had a Cup in 2006 parked for me and waiting for me….We were there and what happens? Hasek. I’m not going to do that.
In 2o06, the Senators were a dominant team led by prime Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson, and had one of the best goaltenders of all time in Dominik Hasek in net. Obviously they didn’t have the Stanley Cup locked up like Melnyk says, but they were as good of a threat as any to take it home.
Then at the Olympics Hasek injured himself and wouldn’t return. The team had to go into the playoffs with Ray Emery, who put up only a .900 save percentage and couldn’t keep up with the higher level of play. The Senators would lose to Hasek’s old team the Buffalo Sabres in the second round, despite having the second most points in the entire NHL in the regular season.
It will be interesting to see which owners allow the players to go, as many might just follow the decisions of their peers. When someone hears Melnyk’s story, and sees him refusing to let Karlsson go, it gets just a little bit easier to hold back your own players. At least Swedish defenders should be excited—a spot just opened up.