Connor Mcdavid, the reigning NHL MVP and the captain of the Edmonton Oilers, claims that he's "really upset" with the NHL's decision not to allow players to participate in the upcoming Olympic games in South Korea. The NHL has allowed their players to play for their countries in every Olympics since the 1998 games in Japan. During the last five Olympics, including the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the medals have gone to the Czechs once, the Canadians three times, and the Swedish national team once. Great players such as Wayne Gretzky, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, and Sidney Crosby have represented Canada in the Olympics in the last two decades.

It seemed fitting that McDavid would champion a new generation of talent, however that's not to be the case in 2018.

McDavid's Olympic debut has to wait

When asked if he was "still disappointed" with the fact that the Olympics won't feature NHL players, McDavid answered in the affirmative: "I'm really upset about it," the young captain of the Edmonton Oilers claimed (video interview posted by TSN). He called the Olympics "the highest stage possible," a comment that could be taken to slight the World Cup of Hockey. Last year McDavid, who is a Canadian national, played in that tournament as part of the young-guns mixed North American team. That will mark his only top-level international play for the foreseeable future now.

Scheduling and injury concerns

One big issue with Olympic participation, from the point of view of the NHL, is scheduling. The Olympic games create a lengthy break in the middle of the NHL season. The league still has to fit 82 games into the regular-season schedule and that leads to compacting games during the non-Olympics period.

Another issue is that the players are under contract to play for their franchises. It's one thing if a player gets injured while playing in a regular-season NHL game, as this is part of their employment risk. But the possibility that a player might get injured playing in the Olympics creates a problem that NHL managers have a harder time accepting.

Following the 2018 Olympics, the next Winter OIympics will come from Beijing in 2022. It's not clear as to whether or not the NHL will allow contracted players to participate in that Olympic event. However, one would think that the same issues that are present today regarding the 2018 Olympics would be present again in 2022 and thereafter. The decision affecting the 2018 Olympics might have lasting effects. Accordingly, it may be the World Cup of Hockey, which can be played in the late summer, that might become the new major international tournament. That event, when played, usually take place just prior to the start of the regular season and that takes the scheduling issues out of the picture.