There is a growing concern in the National Hockey League surrounding the status of Russian players both due to the ongoing conflict between Russian and Ukraine, and now in large part due to the ongoing situation involving Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov.
As a result of the focus on Russia on the international stage, Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin has developed into one of the more controversial figures in the NHL for what are alleged to be his close ties to the current Russian government. In spite of the criticism he has faced on the issue, Ovechkin's only public comments on the issue to the English speaking media have been a call to put a stop to any war, and since making that statement he has remained quiet on the issue.
Given the highly publicized nature of the situation involving Fedotov however, Ovechkin's name has once again come up. According to a report from Russian outlet Sport.ru, Ovechkin was recently asked the following question:
Don’t you want to talk about Fedotov?
To which he simply responded:
"No. Why?" said Ovechkin as per Sport.ru.
Some have been quick to condemn Ovechkin for not speaking on the issue but to be perfectly honest I don't know how anyone can hold such a position after witnessing the nightmare that Fedotov has been undergoing. Remember that Fedotov did not speak ill of the Russian government but merely expressed his desire to play for the Flyers after signing a contract with them in May. That was seemingly enough for military police to detain him and take him to a facility where he would fall ill, a situation that has led to Fedotov fearing that he may have been poisoned.
If these are the consequences for merely trying to play in North America, who knows what could potentially befall Ovechkin, or the members of his family that remain in Russia, if he were indeed to speak out as many have hoped he would.
If you haven't seen the chilling video of Fedotov being loaded into an ambulance after reportedly falling ill while in the custody of military police, you can see it below.