An hour after USA Hockey ruled out having NHL draft-eligible prospects compete at the 2018 Olympics, Marc-Édouard Vlasic posted this on Twitter:
Vlasic has been anything but quiet over his out-right anger toward the league’s decision to not allow NHL players to compete in the Olympics. This isn’t the first time he’s taken that anger to Twitter, either, having published this back in April, immediately following the announcement from Gary Bettman:
“It’s a pretty good tweet, I thought. I was nice, could have been a lot meaner,” Vlasic told Mercury News last April, regarding the tweet. This time, though, he tagged the NHL account, possibly moving in that “meaner” direction.
He’s no stranger to being blunt. When the league offered a three-year CBA extension in exchange for Olympic participation, Vlasic reportedly laughed at the absurdity of the attempted negotiation from the league.
Over the summer, Vlasic penned an open letter about his feelings on the Olympics. At 30 years old, he may not have another chance to compete at an Olympic level. In his own words, it’s an irreplaceable experience.
“I love playing in San Jose. My wife and I have made it our home. But playing for Canada, where you were born and raised? It’s different. Wearing the sweater with the Maple Leaf, it does something to you.”
The nature of the league will change because of this decision. This tweet certainly won’t be the last we hear from Vlasic on this.
“If NHL players don’t end up going to Pyeongchang, I will spend the rest of my career (I have always wanted to play until I am 40, so the next 10 years) feeling frustration and hatred towards the NHL.”
Vlasic isn’t getting over it any time soon, and he’s not alone. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has been vocal about the situation as well, and recently released a statement during the Capitals’ training camp. In it, he echoes Vlasic’s thoughts:
“We never have to make choice between our team and our country my whole career. I love the Capitals and my teammates here as much as I love my country and I know all the other NHL players feel the same for their teams. We should not have to be in position to make this choice.”
The 2018 PyeongChang Olympics start February 9th, with the men’s ice hockey final on the final day, February 25th. It’s still uncertain who will be available to compete.