The difficult situation with the movement of Russians across Europe may well reach our hockey players in the NHL. For example, Dominik Hasek has been saying for a long time that Russian players should not be allowed into the Czech Republic for matches of the European series. It will consist of two parts: on October 7 and 8, Nashville and San Jose will play in the Czech capital, Prague; a month later, on November 4 and 5, Colorado will face Columbus in the Finnish city of Tampere. Hasek vs.



“I will do everything for this.”  Hasek refuses to let Russian NHL players play in Prague
“I will do everything for this.” Hasek refuses to let Russian NHL players play in Prague

The former Spartak goalkeeper and NHL legend announced in early September that he was working with the Czech Foreign Ministry to prevent our hockey players from participating in the series. And now, finally, there is some new information. The Foreign Ministry confirmed everything that Hasek said.

“We can confirm that the Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the leadership of the NHL, in which it warned that neither the Czech Republic nor any other state of the Schengen zone should issue visas to Russian players to enter our territory.

At the same time, we pointed to ongoing negotiations to ban entry for citizens of the Russian Federation with valid visas previously issued. This approach is based both on the recommendation of the sports ministers to prevent Russian athletes from participating in sports competitions in the EU, and on the conclusions of the informal meeting of foreign ministers at the end of August,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smoleka.

That is, the NHL teams that have gathered in Europe, in theory, may be left without a number of players. Nashville may lose goalkeeper Yaroslav Askarov, who shone in the rookie tournament, and forward Yakov Trenin, who has come to terms with the new contract, as well as Yegor Afanasiev, who is making his way to the base. “San Jose” will be left without five players at all. And if the club is unlikely to notice the absence of attacking players Danil Gushchin and Timur Ibragimov, as well as defender Artemy Knyazev, then the loss of forwards Evgeny Svechnikov and especially Alexander Barabanov can seriously affect the “sharks”.

Alexander Barabanov

Alexander Barabanov

Photo: www.nhl.com

With Finland, too, everything is not easy. The local hockey federation did not particularly speak out on this topic, but the government made statements about the Russians in principle. So far, you can still get into Finland. But on September 21, the country’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that Suomi could prepare a law on a complete ban on the entry of Russians.

“Today we decided to start preparing a national decision on how to limit or completely prevent the tourist flow from the Russians, and this national decision may require a new law that will be adopted very quickly, or changes in existing rules,” leads words by Haavisto Iltalehti.

In addition, the minister said that the EU countries may follow their example, but noted that the movement in this matter may not be fast.



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It is not clear whether this decision will affect our athletes in general and the Russians playing in the NHL in particular, but such a development of events cannot be denied. In any case, for now, according to various media reports, Russian citizens are quietly allowed into Finland.

And that’s just the representatives of “Columbus” and “Colorado” really should worry about such a turn. In the event of a ban, the Blue Jackets will lose their stronghold of defense – Vladislav Gavrikov, a strong base player Yegor Chinakhov, as well as rookie Kirill Marchenko, who is fighting for a place in the squad, and goalkeeper Daniil Tarasov, who may recover from injury by that time. Avalanche, in turn, will be left without the first number, Alexander Georgiev, and without the shadow leader, Valery Nichushkin. It will be, though not fatal, but a critical blow to both clubs.

Valery Nichushkin

Valery Nichushkin

Photo: www.nhl.com

At the same time, the NHL, it seems, is not yet concerned about the emerging unpleasant situation. Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen spoke about possible visa problems for Russian players.
“Let’s figure it out. Due to the fact that they previously had Schengen visas, entry should be without problems. Time will tell. We are currently working on this issue from a legal point of view,” Kekäläinen told Ilta-Sanomat.

NHL Vice Commissioner Bill Daly also expressed his confidence that the games that have been taken out will not take place without Russian players. “We expect the Russians to go to Europe and take part in the matches,” Daly told colleagues from TASS, which can be regarded as the league’s official position on the issue today.

So far, no specific measures have been taken. They, according to European officials, are only under consideration. Therefore, it is absolutely pointless to assert something and blame anyone. Maybe the bosses of the NHL have everything under control, they are not ready to work to their own detriment. However, a very important signal for the league and for the host European side has already been given by San Jose general manager Mike Greer.

“Either we all go, or no one goes. I firmly believe that we are a team. We are together. It’s not the fault of the players, they didn’t do anything wrong. So I don’t think they should be punished for it. We are with them, and we are together as one,” said the functionary. It is probably worth assuming that the leadership of other clubs that have gathered in Europe will adhere to a similar position and will not go to the separation of the team on a national basis. If it were possible, then a number of clubs would have long ago taken advantage of this option.

So the stubbornness of the Czechs and Finns, who see the enemy in literally every Russian, will most likely only lead to the disruption of the NHL’s plans. And nobody needs it.

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