The NHL announced Monday that it will not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, refusing for the first time in 20 years to halt its season for three weeks so its players can chase gold for their home countries.
Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly informed the NHL Players’ Association that the matter was “officially closed” after weeks of speculation.
The NHLPA said in a statement that players are “extraordinarily disappointed and adamantly disagree with the NHL’s shortsighted decision.”
The NHL had allowed its players to participate in the past five Olympics dating to 1998.
The league said no meaningful dialogue had emerged in talks with the NHLPA, International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation.
The league wanted the matter resolved before the playoffs begin April 12.
“The league’s efforts to blame others for its decision is as unfortunate as the decision itself,” the NHLPA said.
Monday’s games: Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen had two goals and an assist as the visiting Canadiens beat Florida 4-1 to clinch the Atlantic Division title. … Detroit’s Evgeni Svechnikov scored the only goal of the shootout in the seventh round as the host Red Wings beat Ottawa 5-4. By earning a point, the Senators tied the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic. … Toronto’s Auston Matthews scored his 39th goal to set the record for most by an American-born rookie as the visiting Maple Leafs beat Buffalo 4-2.
Briefly: The NHL suspended Devils defenseman Dalton Prout for two games for interference against Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas during a game Saturday. … Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell, out since Oct. 30 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, will return to the lineup Tuesday against the Wild, NHL.com reported.
Sharks on Tuesday
Who: Vancouver (30-39-9) at Sharks (44-28-7)
When: 7:30 p.m.