There's a nasty rumor coming out of the National Hockey League and it's one that's likely to cause a rather negative backlash from fans of the game, especially fans of international hockey.
Newsday's Ted Starkey is now reporting that while some NHL players may in fact receive permission from their teams to play in the Winter Olympic Games, the International Ice Hockey Federation(IIHF) would likely make that irrelevant.
According to Starkey, the IIHF would make any NHL players ineligible for the tournament, and furthermore any team attempting to field an eligible player would itself be declared ineligible to participate in the tournament.
IIHF has no interest in getting under NHL's skin, and they will likely make sure their wishes are carried of no NHL players participating.
Starkey specifically pointed to the rumors regarding Washington Capitals star forward Alex Ovechkin, rumors that suggest the Capitals would in fact allow him to represent Russia. Starkey believes that even if Ovechkin were to receive permission from the Capitals. the IIHF would prevent him from playing to avoid adding any strain to their relationship with the NHL.
It will be very interesting to see how players like Ovechkin react when the time comes.