Dominik Hasek in 2002. Dominik Hasek, 2002. Hasek

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a lot of developments in the sports world, including the cancellation of many planned events in Russia, from the UEFA Champions League final to F1’s Russian Grand Prix. There have also been a lot of athletes individually speaking about it, and one athlete’s comments that made particular headlines were Washington Capitals’ star Alex Ovechkin‘s “Please, no more war” remarks after a game Friday. Those remarks are notable considering Ovechkin’s friendship with and previously-stated support for Russian president Vladimir Putin, and with that in mind, even Ovechkin’s limited comments here were praised by some. But not all, and one person who absolutely lit Ovechkin up Saturday morning was legendary former NHL goalie Dominik Hasek:

Hasek (seen at top in 2002 with the Detroit Red Wings) also went on to call for the NHL to suspend all Russian players’ contracts:

For the record, here’s more of what Ovechkin said Friday:

“I would say it’s a hard situation. I have lots of friends in Russia and Ukraine. And, it’s hard to see another war. I hope it’s soon going to be over and there’s going to be peace in the whole world.”

Ovechkin has been careful to show his support of both countries as Russian-American relations have soured in recent years, but when pressed about his friendship with and previous support of Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Friday news conference, he took a neutral stance.

“Well, he’s my president. But, how I said, I’m not in politics. I’m an athlete,” Ovechkin replied. “How I said, hope everything’s going to be done soon. It’s a hard situation right now for both sides. Everything, like how I said, everything I hope is going to be end, and I’m not in control of situation.”

…”Please, no more war. Doesn’t matter who’s in the war. Russia. Ukraine. Different countries. I think we live in a world like we have to live in peace and a great world.”

While those remarks are notable for someone like Ovechkin previously so supportive of Putin, it’s also quite possible to see why Hasek and others don’t think they go far enough. And this does help illustrate the particularly tough situation the NHL finds itself in versus most North American leagues. A January 2022 analysis from Ryan Szporer at The Hockey Writers based on teams’ 2021-22 season-opening rosters found 37 Russian players (5.1 percent of all players, fifth-most of any country, behind Canada, the U.S., Sweden, and Finland) and many more players from other European countries (including 26 from Hasek’s Czech Republic). So this is a crisis that hits very close to home for many of the NHL’s players. And while what to do about that is up for debate (and while we probably won’t actually see a suspension of all Russian players like what Hasek is calling for), there’s certainly going to be some more talk about it in the NHL ranks.

[Dominik Hasek on Twitter;

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.