Czech Republic: Russian players unwelcome for Sharks-Predators games in Prague

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Czech gov: Russian players unwelcome for Sharks' games in Prague originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Czech Foreign Ministry has informed the NHL that Russian players are not wanted in Prague next month due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Sharks and Nashville Predators are scheduled to play two regular-season games at Prague's O2 Arena on Oct. 7 and 8.

San Jose has three Russian players on its training camp roster -- forwards Alexander Barabanov and Evgeny Svechnikov as well as defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov, who will miss the first few months of the season with a torn Achilles.

Nashville features Russian forward Yakov Trenin on its roster.

"We can confirm that the Czech Foreign Ministry has sent a letter to the NHL to point out that, at this moment, the Czech Republic or any other state in the (visa free) Schengen zone should not issue visas to the Russian players to enter our territory," Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek said in a statement (h/t The Associated Press).

Svechnikov, signed to a one-year deal by new Sharks general manager Mike Grier this offseason, tallied a career-high 19 points last season with the Winnipeg Jets.

The two games against Nashville in Prague open the Sharks' 2022-23 NHL season. San Jose returns home for a pair of contests at SAP Center against the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 14-15.

The Czech Foreign Ministry declined to say whether the NHL has replied to its statement, per The Associated Press.