Hilary Knight’s OT goal wins U.S. gold over Canada at Women’s Worlds (Video)

What the United States Women’s National Team has done in the past three weeks is nothing short of remarkable.

It’s only fitting they’d close out the 2017 Women’s World Championship against blood rival Canada by defeating them 3-2 in overtime for the US’s first gold on home soil.

In front of a standing room only crowd in Plymouth, Michigan the US got off to a somewhat sluggish start.

Just over a minute into the first period, the United States experienced only their second deficit of the tournament when Jennifer Wakefield and Meghan Agosta get in on the rush.

Wakefield sends a pass to Agosta who snipes it to give the Canadians a 1-0 lead.

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Timeline to the demise of NHL participation in the Olympics

Like the captain of the Titanic, we should have seen this iceberg coming.

The NHL’s decision to opt-out of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea was a story being written before the players even took their skates off in Sochi.

Here’s how it all played out through the media from 2014 to Monday’s fateful announcement.

• Feb. 6, 2014: Our story starts with the late Philadelphia Flyers owner, Ed Snyder, and his disapproval of Claude Giroux being left off the Canadian Olympic team.

A decision which left Snyder apoplectic, “Well it’s a farce. He’s one of the best players in the league. It’s ridiculous. He’s better than half the guys on that team.”

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United States defeats Canada in Women’s World Championships opener

The United States Women’s National Team had barely 48 hours to prepare for the Women’s World Championships after an emotional two and a half weeks that nearly led them boycotting the tournament.

Led by Worlds’ rookie Nicole Hensley in net, the defending champion United States women dispatched of blood rival Team Canada 2-0 in the teams’ opening game of the tournament.

For the first time in pretty much forever, the Canadians are without Hayley Wickenheiser who retired earlier this year.

Shannon Szabados returned to the Canadian National Team for the first time since winning Olympic gold in Sochi. Szabados spent four seasons in the SPHL and took a break from National Team play.

Despite out-shooting Canada 11-5 in the first period, the United States appeared to be shaking off some rust as they returned to form. They weren’t bad, just not as crisp as usual.

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Bettman on Olympics: ‘Assume we’re not going’

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Gary Bettman doesn’t think the NHL is going to the Olympics.

However, the NHL commissioner took it a step further on Tuesday:

“There are no negotiations ongoing,” Bettman told Reuters at the Sport Business Summit in New York. “We were open to having discussions on a variety of things that might mitigate the damage to our season but that had no resonance.

“As things stand now people should assume we are not going.”

That’s a more declarative statement than we’ve heard from Bettman thus far. He goes on to add some familiar context:

“We’re not negotiating publicly,” said Bettman. “The point is I was trying to emphasize the fact that this is terribly disruptive to our business and there seems to be no offsetting way to mitigate that disruption.

This is not new.

Bettman is speaking as a representative of the 31 owners who don’t like losing revenue during the year, and risking their investments in players to injuries that could further impact their teams when the season resumes.

He continues with another blow to the nail in the coffin:

“From our standpoint there may not be any next steps,” said Bettman.

“Remember, this is February, there is no baseball, no football, it is just us and basketball and we just disappear,” said Bettman. “We don’t get content for the NHL Network, we don’t get content for our social media platforms and NHL.com.

“Why did we do it five times? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time but we have been unable to quantify any benefit from it.”

The NHL’s stance on this is firm. What the owners need to be more concerned about his how many defectors they’re going to have when it’s a sure-thing.

Ted Leonsis said he’s letting his stars go to Pyeongchang. Eugene Melnyk said he’s not allowing Erik Karlsson to go.

This is going to be a problem. Stay tuned.

Melnyk might risk Karlsson at Olympics, if he was Canadian

Sportsnet gave viewers an appetizer of an interview with Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk set to air on Sunday.

As is customary when with an NHL owner, a reporter is required to ask about the Olympics. Ted Leonsis made headlines a few weeks back by giving his players permission to go play in PyeongChang even if the NHL decided not to participate.

On giving Erik Karlsson the same permission to go play for Sweden during the season, Melnyk replied in the most Eugene Melnyk way possible:

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Fehr, Bettman send two different messages on Olympic participation

In the lead up to the Centennial Classic in Toronto, both Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman were addressing the NHL player participation in the 2018 Olympics.

Fehr, the Executive Director of the NHL Players Association, was the first to get his organization’s message out to the public.

From Frank Seravalli of TSN:

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