Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has cemented his legacy as the top European goal scorer of all time, but he may not have a team to represent at the 2024 World Cup Of Hockey. However, as February 2024 approaches, he hopes that will change.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters at the NHL/NHLPA European Player Media Tour that the league is planning to bring back the World Cup of Hockey in 2024. However, there may not be a Team Russia in response to the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s hard to answer something now. We were told twice that we would go to the Olympics, but we were thrown away,” Ovechkin told sports.ru. “I would like to play for Russia. But everything will depend on the circumstances and decision of the NHL. I hope that the Russian national team will be allowed to play.”
International Ice Hockey Federation president Luc Tardif announced last week that the IIHF will uphold its ban of Russian and Belarusian teams from international competition through 2023.
According to QuantHockey, there are 50 active NHL Russian players. Back in 2018-19, Russians made up four percent of the NHL. Ovechkin currently leads all Russians in scoring with 1,410 points. The next highest Russian scorer behind him is Evgeni Malkin with 1,146 points. The Great 8 currently sits third on the NHL’s all-time goals list at 780 red lights. He needs 20 more for 800, 22 more to pass Gordie Howe and 115 more to break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record of 894.
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In addition to Ovechkin and Malkin, there are also several other Russian NHL All-Stars including Kirill Kaprizov, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Igor Shesterkin and more. The Capitals have three Russians on the roster in Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov. Kuznetsov’s ban from international competition for cocaine use expires next year. There are also multiple Russian players in the team’s system, including Ivan Miroshnichneko and Alex Alexeyev. Prospect Aliaksei Protas is from Belarus.
Some Russian players have also run into backlash and issues overseas. Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov remained in Russia to train for the upcoming season. He had announced that he was leaving CSKA Moscow — a team with close military ties — for the Flyers in 2022-23. Authorities detained Fedotov in July for alleged draft dodging and deployed him to an Arctic naval base. Fedotov is now standing trial. Kaprizov was also reportedly wanted in Russia for buying a fake military ID. He had tried to enter the U.S. twice over the offseason. However, he didn’t have his work visa. He ultimately returned safely to the States and is back for the upcoming season.