“Banning group sports activities, significantly ones that symbolize Russia, is actually justified,” he stated. “But it will be exhausting to exclude the hockey gamers. The hardest one to justify could be banning Vasilevskiy or Shesterkin.”
Frye has traveled to Russia usually since 1985 and has been to a couple of half-dozen hockey video games there, each earlier than and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He stated that when he watches the N.H.L. now, he wonders why the Russian gamers aren’t extra of a dialogue in hockey since the invasion, versus in soccer and tennis.
But he understands why the gamers are reluctant to talk publicly about the state of affairs.
“Individual Russians tackle nice danger to specific opposition,” Frye stated. “A variety of them even have household again in Russia who’re susceptible, and all people understands that. There is nice value in talking out. It’s an actual factor.”
Frye stated there’s additionally the chance that gamers might be excluded from Russian nationwide groups in the future, like tennis’s Davis Cup, the Olympic groups or the nationwide hockey and soccer groups. He stated even taking a impartial place is frowned upon, and there’s the menace of lengthy jail sentences for individuals who criticize the invasion.
Despite the battle and uncertainty, the N.H.L.’s Russians play on.
“It needs to be an especially tough state of affairs,” Cooper stated. “When you’ve received an enormous ocean in between what’s happening, it most likely makes slightly little bit of a distinction.” He added: “Ultimately, it comes right down to the guys having to do their job. But it might’t be simple. You simply really feel for everybody.”
There have been 327 N.H.L. gamers born in Russia or the Soviet Union, in line with Hockey Reference, and solely 26 of them have been goalies, beginning with Sergei Mylnikov, who made his debut with the Quebec Nordiques in 1989. Of the Russian-born goalies, 10 have been lively this yr (11, in the event you embody the Russian-trained Georgiev), and all have been born after 1993.