Russian Goalies Like Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy Dominate the NHL Playoffs

“Banning group sports activities, notably ones that signify Russia, is actually justified,” he mentioned. “However it might be arduous to exclude the hockey gamers. The toughest one to justify could be banning Vasilevskiy or Shesterkin.”

Frye has traveled to Russia usually since 1985 and has been to a few half-dozen hockey video games there, each earlier than and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He mentioned that when he watches the NHL now, he wonders why the Russian gamers aren’t extra of a dialogue in hockey for the reason that invasion, versus in soccer and tennis.

However he understands why the gamers are reluctant to talk publicly concerning the scenario.

“Particular person Russians tackle nice danger to specific opposition,” Frye mentioned. “A number of them even have household again in Russia who’re weak, and all people understands that. There’s nice value in talking out. It is an actual factor.”

Frye mentioned there’s additionally the likelihood that gamers might be excluded from Russian nationwide groups sooner or later, like tennis’s Davis Cup, the Olympic groups or the nationwide hockey and soccer groups. He mentioned even taking a impartial place is frowned upon, and there’s the specter of lengthy jail sentences for many who criticize the invasion.

Regardless of the battle and uncertainty, the NHL’s Russians play on.

“It must be an especially tough scenario,” Cooper mentioned. “Whenever you’ve obtained a large ocean in between what is going on on, it most likely makes a bit of little bit of a distinction.” He added: “In the end, it comes all the way down to the fellows having to do their job. However it will probably’t be simple. You simply really feel for everybody.”

There have been 327 NHL gamers born in Russia or the Soviet Union, based on Hockey Reference, and solely 26 of them had been goalies, beginning with Sergei Mylnikov, who made his debut with the Quebec Nordiques in 1989. Of the Russian-born goalies, 10 had been energetic this yr (11, when you embrace the Russian-trained Georgiev), and all had been born after 1993.

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