How the IIHF Russian ban impacts the Calgary Flames’ prospects
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
The world has grappled with the ramifications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and those ramifications have spilled over into the world of international hockey, with several national associations condemning the military aggression from Russia.
Earlier this week, the International Ice Hockey Federation, the governing body of ice hockey, barred Russia and Belarus from their international competitions.
Here’s the full scale of the IIHF’s actions:
The IIHF Council has decided to take the following actions:-Suspension of all Russian and Belarusian National Teams and Clubs from participation in every age category and in all IIHF competitions or events until further notice-Withdrawal of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship hosting rights from Russia
As it relates to the Calgary Flames and the players on their roster and reserve list, two tournaments will be impacted: the World Championship in May has barred the Russia and Belarus national teams, while the rescheduled World Juniors in August has barred the Russian national team.
The ban itself isn’t likely to impact the playing seasons of any of the Flames’ players from Russia or Belarus. (Their Russian and Belarusian players were unlikely to be available for the tournaments due to club team commitments anyway, were players that likely weren’t going to invited to complete, or both.)
There’s one Russian on the NHL roster: Nikita Zadorov. The first round of the playoffs will eat up the first two weeks of May and spill into the Worlds schedule, so Zadorov likely wouldn’t be free of Flames commitments during that tournament anyway.
The AHL regular season ends at the end of April and the playoffs begin in May. The Heat are highly-regarded and could go far in the playoffs, so likely neither of Dmitry Zavgorodniy (Russia) or Ilya Solovyov (Belarus) would be available for the Worlds. (If they were available, Solovyov probably would get the call for Belarus but Russia usually take a lot of domestic KHL players to the Worlds rather than bring in North American-based players so Zavgorodniy likely wouldn’t be invited anyway.)
The ECHL regular season ends in mid-April and Kansas City is borderline for the playoffs. Daniil Chechelev (Russia) probably will get recalled to Stockton for the AHL playoffs is Kansas City misses out, so he wouldn’t be available for the Worlds. (And again, Russia usually relies on older domestic players, so he probably wouldn’t have been invited if available.)
The only player age eligible for the rescheduled World Juniors would be Yan Kuznetsov (Russia), but he’s with a Saint John team that’s hosting the Memorial Cup in June so he’ll get plenty of hockey in, and he wasn’t named to Russia’s original roster so it seems unlikely that they would’ve taken him to the new tournament. (Like with the senior national team, they went with domestic players and left North American-based juniors off.)
USHLers Ilya Nikolaev and Arsenii Sergeev (both Russia) are both 20 and weren’t age eligible for the World Juniors anyway. They’ll both likely be busy with the USHL playoffs during the World Championship, and neither had much of a shot of being on the senior national team on account of being young and playing in North America.
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