Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The landscape of Olympic hockey looks a lot different in PyeongChang than it looked four years ago, and that is largely because the NHL decided it will not allow its players to compete in the Winter Games. Something tells us Alex Ovechkin is still a little bitter about that.

Ovechkin, who has spoken in the past about how important winning an Olympic medal would be to him, was asked on Tuesday if he has been watching the Olympics. He used the opportunity to take a shot at NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Ovechkin’s mother played basketball for Russia and won two Olympic gold medals, so you can understand why a chance to do the same means so much to him. He tried to fight the NHL’s decision last year but eventually waved the white flag.

“I wanted to make this statement so that my words are clear and nobody misunderstands what I am saying. The Olympics are in my blood and everybody knows how much I love my country,” Ovechkin said in a statement last September. “Ever since I was a kid and all the time I have played in the NHL, NHL players have played in the Olympic Games. 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.”

No one is expecting any type of “Miracle on Ice” situation with NHL players not allowed to compete in PyeongChang, but their exclusion has led to some heartwarming moments for other hockey players. That’s one silver lining Ovechkin and others can focus on.

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This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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