NHL should suspend Russian players amid Ukraine war

Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Dominik Hasek has called for the NHL to suspend all Russian players after Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

The 57-year-old Hasek, who is a native of what is now the Czech Republic, took to Twitter to criticize Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin, who has aligned himself with Putin in the past, but asked for “no more war” when speaking with reporters yesterday.

“What!? Not only an ablist, a chicken s–t, but also a liar!” Hasek tweeted in a thread. “Every adult in Europe knows well, that Putin is a mad killer and that Russia is waging an offensive war against a free country and its people.

“The NHL must immediately suspend contracts for all Russian players! Every athlete represents not only himself and his club, but also his country and its values and actions. That is a fact. If the NHL does not do so, it has indirect co-responsibility for the dead in Ukraine.

“I also want to write, that I am very sorry for those Russian athletes, who condemn V. Putin and his Russian aggression in Ukraine. However, at the moment I also consider their exclusion a necessity.”

It seems unlikely that the league would take such a step, as there’s been no indication of it entertaining doing so thus far.

Alex Ovechkin, Dominik Hasek
Alex Ovechkin, Dominik Hasek
Getty (2)
Alex Ovechkin (right) has long had ties with Vladimir Putin (left).
Alex Ovechkin (right) has long had ties with Vladimir Putin (left).
AFP/Getty Images

Hasek was born behind the Iron Curtain in what was then Czechoslovakia, eventually leaving Europe for his hockey career. He had a decorated NHL tenure with the Blackhawks, Sabres, Senators and Red Wings, winning two Stanley Cups in Detroit. He also played a year in the KHL with Spartak Moscow in 2010-11.

Ovechkin, the highest-profile Russian in the NHL, has close ties with Putin and has campaigned for the dictator in the past. Asked if he still supported Putin on Friday, Ovechkin stressed that he’s not in politics.

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