Although the NHL said in April that it would no longer be participating in the 2018 Olympics, there has been hope that the league, IIHF and IOC would still be able to strike a late agreement to ensure a best-on-best tournament. A month after the NHL’s announcement, IIHF president Rene Fasel told a German newspaper that an agreement could still be reached as late as July. The door seemed to still be open, if just a crack. Even that faint optimism is gone now. Fasel all but officially closed the door on the NHL’s involvement in 2018 in comments made to Reuters. “Logistically it is practically impossible for Pyeongchang. That train has left the station,” he said. While the South Korean Games are over for the NHL, the possibility of returning in the future remains. Fasel said “there is an interest of the league and we have noted that” to be part of the 2022 Games in Beijing. The NHL as a league will not allow its players to participate in 2018, but there are a few interesting individual cases. Alex Ovechkin has said he is intent on playing in Pyeongchang with or without the league’s blessing and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has supported him more than once. It’s expected the NHL will issue some sort of penalty for players who leave for the Olympics on their own, although what that punishment would be is unclear.