Author Topic: Russians in the NHL  (Read 544 times)

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Offline Nik the Trik

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Russians in the NHL
« on: July 17, 2018, 12:44:51 PM »

So, after the hubbub yesterday, I think something that has been bugging me for a while has sort of crystalized. Obviously this isn't a new issue as Ovechkin and his ties to/support for Putin's regime has been a subject for some chatter before but it's always seemed as though it kind of got dismissed with "Well, he's just patriotic" or "There are just cultural differences we don't understand" or "His support is being overstated/coerced/not entirely genuine". At all points it has seemed like the hockey media has wanted to bring it up so as to not be accused of ignoring the elephant in the room while also wanting to dismiss it as quickly as possible so as to avoid the notion of discussing something as dirty as politics with regards to something as pure as hockey.

But at some point this has to be a lasting and real issue, doesn't it? So much of yesterday's drama revolved around the idea that Russia has essentially committed what could be construed as acts of war against our allies.

So how can we reconcile a hockey league essentially asking us to support and cheer on someone who's actively cheerleading what is an incredibly troubling political regime that is seeking to actively undermine the fundamental nature of democracy in some of our allies? To say nothing of the many and varied terrible things they're doing elsewhere(supporting Assad in Syria) and internally(anti-gay legislation).

This is kind of unknown territory. Sure, Russians have been our "antagonists" for a long time but Russians in the NHL have always either been a) defectors from an acknowledged enemy of ours or B) visitors from a country that we're, if not friends with, at least not actively antagonistic towards.

Now? I don't know how bad things might get between NATO and Russia but things are looking pretty ugly right now and in a couple months we're going to have to watch as a Russian national and supporter of their dictator smiles  and laughs with the Stanley Cup with the President who seems to be sublimating the entire post-World War 2 peaceful co-existence between Western Nations possibly because he's at best indifferent to Russian interests and at worst an active agent of them. The idea legitimately turns my stomach.

I'm not saying I entirely understand the ins and outs or where to go from here. I'm not saying to ban Russians from the league or make them denounce the guy running their country but...on the other hand...I'm not going to make the obvious analogy here but can you imagine any other situation where vocal supporters of a country we might end up at war with are effectively being paid to entertain us?

I'm honestly not trying to sound alarmist or like Don Cherry here but this feels like a real issue here. Something that can't be swept under the rug just because we'd rather not mix real world concerns and sports.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline WhatIfGodWasALeaf

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Russians in the NHL
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 01:32:21 PM »
I think if diplomatic relations deteriorate to the point that the countries are essentially at war, you have to allow the people to hold whatever beliefs they may privately, but make it clear that publicly or materially supporting such a regime is unacceptable in our society.

 Such a regime is the antithesis of what we believe to be right and just and you’ll be asked to leave if you are found to be doing so.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2018, 03:02:22 PM by WhatIfGodWasALeaf »

Online CarltonTheBear

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Re: Russians in the NHL
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2018, 01:38:26 PM »
I for one support the idea that any NHLer from Russia, specifically defencemen from Moscow, should have their contracts completely voided.

In all seriousness though (well, I was sorta serious in the above), this certainly is an interesting topic of discussion though. But like WIGWAL said I think it would take the two countries essentially being at war for the NHL to even consider getting involved, and that won't happen with Trump in office.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Russians in the NHL
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2018, 07:48:45 PM »

So I guess after thinking about it I'm left with a few refinements based on those responses:

Saying that the NHL won't do anything in the absence of a war...does that mean a fully declared shooting war? Or would an effective return to the Cold War do? Because I'd have to think that with literally just about anyone else as President that's effectively where we'd already be.

Also, does this have a limit? Could a NHL player support a government doing literally anything so long as they weren't at war with Canada? Active war against an ally? Committing full-out genocide? Could a NHL player be stumping for Saudi Arabia?

Lastly, even absent the actual league taking action, which I acknowledge as being unlikely given that it would require a real spine and actually acting on it's supposed principles...doesn't then the burden fall to fans? Shouldn't we be booing the guy? Demanding action from the league? Maybe anything outside of linking to articles about how drunk Ovechkin's getting and isn't it funny?

I mean, I really do take issue with the idea that even if you're at war you have to allow these guys to have whatever opinions they want privately. To make the comparison I didn't want to earlier, I can't imagine if there'd been Germans in the league during WW2 that the stance would have been "Hey guys, be Nazis all you want at home but just not at the rink".
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Online Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

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Re: Russians in the NHL
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 11:14:08 PM »
I don't not know what you aren't talking about.

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Re: Russians in the NHL
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 11:14:08 PM »