Alex Ovechkin finally conceded that he won't be playing in the 2018 Olympics.
The Washington Capitals star released a statement on Thursday criticizing the NHL over its decision to keep players out of the Olympics, saying that nobody benefits from the decision.
Reports in April said the NHL had agreed with its owners that the three-week break needed for the Olympics would not be beneficial for the league. Several players criticized the decision, though Ovechkin was the holdout, maintaining he would play if he was asked to.
However, The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported that deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the International Ice Hockey Federation told the NHL that it would not accept any players currently under contract with the NHL. Ovechkin said he was disappointed in the NHL, IOC, and IIHF for its decision.
"I see the news this week and I am very disappointed that IOC, IIHF and NHL put me and all NHL players in this position when some of the best players in world do not have chance to play in Olympic Games," Ovechkin said. "This is not just about me but all NHL players who want to play and have a chance to win Gold for their country."
Ovechkin added: "NHL players in the Olympics is good for hockey and good for Olympics. It sucks that we will not be there to play!!"
Alex Ovechkin through his career
Alex Ovechkin through his career
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on in the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
KRT STAND ALONE PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE BRIDGES/KRT (October 6) Washington Capitals rookie Alex Ovechkin is shown during a game against Columbus on Wednesday, October 5, 2005. (Photo by George Bridges/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period of their NHL game in Toronto, November 8, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Cassese
Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby (87) and Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin (8) pause during a break in the second period of their NHL game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania November 22, 2005. Crosby was the number one draft pick this year and Ovechkin was the number one pick last year. REUTERS/Jason Cohn
Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin waits for a faceoff against Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of their NHL game in Washington January 21, 2006. REUTERS/Molly Riley
NHL Eastern Conference All-Stars' Sidney Crosby (L) and Alex Ovechkin look on after the NHL All-Star hockey game in Dallas January 24, 2007. REUTERS/Shaun Best (UNITED STATES)
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin smiles during a news conference where it was announced that he had signed a 13-year contract with the Captials in Washington, DC, January 10, 2008. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES)
Eastern Conference player Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals celebrates scoring a goal in the first period of the NHL's All-Star hockey game in Atlanta January 27, 2008. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES)
Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin (L) is restrained by referee Greg Devorski after receiving a penalty in the second period of their NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago March 19, 2008. REUTERS/Frank Polich (UNITED STATES)
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin poses with the NHL Art Ross trophy (L) and the Maurice Richard trophy during an awards ceremony in Pittsburgh May 28, 2008. The Art Ross trophy is awarded to the NHL's top scoring champion and the Maurice Richard trophy is awarded to the league's top goal scorer. REUTERS/Shaun Best (UNITED STATES)
NHL hockey player Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (L) is given the key to the city by Mayor Adrian Fenty (R) during a celebration event in Washington June 13, 2008. Ovechkin was awarded the Lester B. Pearson Award, given to the most outstanding hockey player as voted by his peers, in a ceremony last night in Toronto. Ovechkin also became the first player to win the Hart, Art Ross and Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophies all in one season. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES)
Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin looks up at the scoreboard in the third period against the Anaheim Ducks during National Hockey League game in Anaheim, California November 19, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES)
Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin of Russia celebrates after scoring in the Breakaway Challenge event at the NHL All-Star skills competition in Montreal, January 24, 2009. REUTERS/Shaun Best (CANADA)
Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin waits his turn during warm-ups before the NHL hockey game between the Capitals and the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida April 11, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin celebrates his goal on the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in Game 2 of their NHL Eastern Conference semi-final hockey series in Washington May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin poses after winning the Hart Memorial Trophy, the Lester Pearson Trophy and the Maurice Richard Trophy at the 2009 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 18, 2009. REUTERS/Mike
Blake (UNITED STATES SPORT ICE HOCKEY ENTERTAINMENT)
Alex Ovechkin of Russia skates before their men's hockey game against Latvia at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (CANADA)
Evgeni Malkin (11) of Russia celebrates his goal against Czech Republic with Alex Ovechkin in first period of their hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 21, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best (CANADA)
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin of Russia poses with the "Ted Lindsay Award" after being named "Most Outstanding Player" at the 2010 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 23, 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin arrives for the team draft for the NHL All-Star hockey game in Raleigh, January 28, 2011. The All-Star game will be played on Sunday. REUTERS/Shaun Best (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY HEADSHOT)
Russia's Alex Ovechkin (R), star forward for the Washington Capitals of the NHL, mimics his wax likeness in hockey gear during the unveiling at Madame Tussauds wax museum in Washington, October 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin skates during a break in play against the New York Rangers in second period action during their NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden in New York, April 7, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
Washington Capitals hockey star Alex Ovechkin takes part in a practice at the team's facility in Arlington, VA, January 8, 2013. The National Hockey League (NHL) and locked-out players reached a tentative agreement on Sunday to end a costly labor dispute and salvage a condensed season that was days away from being canceled entirely. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
Washington Capitals fans Derek Reuther (L) and Tresor Cirney hold photos of Alex Ovechkin during the third period of the NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg March 22, 2013. REUTERS/Fred Greenslade (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)
Oct 16, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates after scoring a goal against the New Jersey Devils in the first period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 7, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) after scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) salutes the fans after being named number one star of the game after the Capitals' game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) looks on during a ceremony honoring Ovechkin's 1,000th NHL career point prior to the Capitals' game against the Los Angeles Kings at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Other players also expressed disappointment. According to the Associated Press, Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues said: "You want something for all your life and then some guys just take it away without obvious reasons. If it's reasons, it's money, but a lot of players want to be there."
Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said in February that he wouldn't stop Ovechkin if he had expressed desire to play in the Olympics. The decision from the IIHF obviously ends that speculation. Ovechkin thanked Leonsis in his statement for his support.