None of the Russian NHL stars will become a flag bearer for their country in Sochi in a few months, the first time Russia will host the Winter Olympics in history.
(Come to think of it, there will be no NHL flag bearers for any country in Sochi.)
The speculation was that all – Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk - had great chances of becoming flag bearers.
“The opening ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Games will take place on February 7 at 20:14 Moscow time,” Team Russia 2014 media project manager Andrei Mitkov told Sovetsky Sport.
“By that time only KHL players will be in Sochi. The Russian Olympic team has a scheduled friendly game against Team Latvia on February 8, and one against Team Switzerland on February 9. The charter flight with NHL players will arrive in the Olympic capital only on February 10.
"Therefore, Russian NHL stars Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk and others will not be able to participate in the opening ceremony and to become Russia’s flag bearers (just like any NHL player of other countries). However, players deserving to be flag bearers play in the KHL, such as Ilya Kovalchuk, Ilya Nikulin, Alexander Radulov.”
The NHL will break from the 2013-14 regular season on February 9, two days after the opening ceremony.
And as Mitkov mentioned, unless some teams allow their players to leave early for the Olympics, if they are chosen to be flag bearers, we will not see an NHL star carrying his country’s flag in Sochi.