To the surprise of very few, Ottawa Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov and winger Alex Kovalev were invited to Russia's olympic summer hockey camp in Moscow from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1. They were two of 38 players invited, including 19 from the NHL (the other 19 coming from the KHL). Only the Washington Capitals had more players invited (three, G Simeon Varlamov, C Alex Ovechkin, and C Alexander Semin), and the Pittsburgh Penguins also had two (C Evgeni Malkin, D Sergei Gonchar).
Considering the Senators' rather shady history with Russian players--from the entire Alexei Yashin debacle to a spat of prospects who, for one reason or another, didn't work out and left the team (see: Alexander Nikulin, Petr Schastlivy, Oleg Saprykin, Alexei Kaigorodov, probably a couple more... )--it's interesting that Ottawa has more elite Russian players than most other NHL squads.
It's unclear at this moment whether or not Volchenkov and Kovalev will attend the camp, as some other NHLers have declined to go. Apparently the NHLPA cited insurance issues in asking players to decline these invitations, and German players have acquiesced to that request. The insurance issue isn't yet resolved, but we'll see what happens. Although Dominik Hasek's injury was during actual gameplay, Senators fans may be forgiven if they're a little uncertain about the prospect of star players getting injured in these training camps.
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