In the NHL playoffs, Russian goaltenders like Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy dominate

“Banning team sports, especially those that represent Russia, is certainly justified,” he said. “But it would be difficult to exclude ho...


“Banning team sports, especially those that represent Russia, is certainly justified,” he said. “But it would be difficult to exclude hockey players. The most difficult to justify would be to ban Vasilevskiy or Shesterkin.

Frye has traveled to Russia regularly since 1985 and attended about half a dozen hockey games there, before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He said that when he watches the NHL now, he wonders why Russian players aren’t discussed in hockey since the invasion, rather than soccer and tennis.

But he understands why players are reluctant to speak publicly about the situation.

“Individual Russians are taking great risks to voice their opposition,” Frye said. “A lot of them also have family in Russia who are vulnerable, and everyone understands that. There is a big cost to speaking out. It’s a real thing.

Frye said it was also possible that players could be excluded from Russian national teams in the future, such as Davis Cup tennis, Olympic teams or national hockey and football teams. He said even taking a neutral stance is frowned upon, and there is the threat of long prison sentences for those who criticize the invasion.

Despite the conflict and uncertainty, the Russians in the NHL continue to play.

“It must be an extremely difficult situation,” Cooper said. “When you have a huge ocean between what’s going on, it probably makes a little difference.” He added: “At the end of the day it comes down to the guys having to do their job. But it can’t be easy. You feel fair to everyone.

There were 327 NHL players born in Russia or the Soviet Unionaccording to Hockey Reference, and only 26 of them were goaltenders, starting with Sergei Mylnikov, who made his debut with the Quebec Nordiques in 1989. Of the Russian-born goaltenders, 10 were active that year (11, if you include Russian-educated Georgiev), and all were born after 1993.

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Newsrust - US Top News: In the NHL playoffs, Russian goaltenders like Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy dominate
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