Five players who Canada may lose from its Olympics roster if the KHL boycotts

Five players who Canada may lose from its Olympics roster if the KHL boycotts

Russia’s ban from the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics could force Hockey Canada to drastically alter its course in assembling a men’s national team.

After the NHL pulled out of participating in the Winter Olympics on April 3, Hockey Canada decided to use top-level players from other professional leagues, mainly based in Europe. However, the Kontinental Hockey League, Russia’s top professional league, announced on Nov. 4 that it might withdraw its players from the Olympics if Russia was sanctioned for its doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Hockey Canada’s proposed Olympic roster has included up to 19 players currently in the KHL. Here are five key players who could be affected by a potential boycott:

BEN SCRIVENS (goaltender – Salavat Yulaev Ufa) — The former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie started in all three of Canada’s games at the Karjala Cup, a tune-up tournament for the Olympics held in Helsinki, and appeared in two other exhibition games. In those five appearances, he has a 1.34 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. Barry Brust (Switzerland’s National League) and Justin Peters (Germany’s Elite League) have served as his backups and would be unaffected by a KHL boycott.

ERIC O’DELL (forward – HC Sochi) — O’Dell spent most of his professional career in the American Hockey League, playing in the minor systems of the Winnipeg Jets. His value to Canada is as a hard-nosed centre, winning faceoffs and playing excellent defensive hockey. He has nine goals and 15 assists in 31 games with HC Sochi this season with an impressive plus-17 rating. He also scored for Canada at the Karjala Cup.

GILBERT BRULE (forward – Kunlun Red Star) — Canada struggled to score against Switzerland, Sweden and Finland at the Karjala Cup but Brule was a highlight. The 30-year-old forward had two goals and an assist at the tournament. He has 12 goals and 14 assists in 31 games for Kunlun Red Star in 2017 after being traded from Traktor Chelyabinsk six games into the season.

SIMON DESPRES (defenceman – HC Slovan Bratislava) — Despres played for Canada in the Karjala Cup and is on the roster again for the upcoming Channel One Cup that begins on Dec. 13 in Moscow. The six-foot-four, 218-pound Despres is by far the largest defenceman on Canada’s proposed Olympic roster. Most of Canada’s defensive corps plays for KHL teams, with six on the Channel One roster and seven on the Karjala roster.

MAX TALBOT (forward – LOKOMOTIV YAROSLAVL) — Talbot is arguably the most accomplished player on Canada’s theoretical Olympic roster. The 33-year-old Talbot had 91 goals and 113 assists in 704 NHL games split between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. He scored both of Pittsburgh’s goals in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup final against the Detroit Red Wings, helping the Penguins bring home the NHL championship. He’s in the midst of his second season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a speaker appear by videoconference during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, April 9, 2021. Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau winds up Liberal convention with election campaign-style speech

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau wound up a three-day Liberal convention Saturday with… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his commitment to the Republican Party — and raise the possibility that someone else will be the GOP's next presidential nominee — in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his… Continue reading

A cruise ship sits docked waiting for passengers to be evacuated in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Friday, April 9, 2021 due to the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Ash-covered St. Vincent braces for more volcanic eruptions

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — People who ignored an initial warning to evacuate… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Most Read