Russia invades Ukraine? Yup, going to happen…

.. it’s now not “if” but when.

As reported here, Russian troops are massing at key points along Ukraine’s border. There will be a swift attack, territory will be secured and lives will be lost. Another human tragedy caused by greed. Then Putin will turn to the West and say: “so, what are ya gonna do about it?”

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Sadly, the West is pretty much at a loss here. Financial weakness, military adventures recently ended and a general distaste at home for yet another foreign war have nicely handcuffed most Western leaders. Even Harper, despite his photo-op-driven bravado can do little more than spew and hiss.

Or, can he do more?

The curious thing about Canada is that we are home to the largest single employer of Russian athletes abroad – the NHL (yes, yes, I know that the HQ is in NYC… but we’re still the “spiritual home, no?). The following are the Russian players now in the league:

No. Player Position Team Date of birth Place of birth
25 Mikhail Grigorenko C Buffalo Sabres 05/16/1994 Khabarovsk, RUS
61 Nikita Zadorov* D Buffalo Sabres 04/16/1995 Moscow, RUS
28 Alexander Semin RW Carolina Hurricanes 03/03/1984 Krasnoyarsk, RUS
31 Anton Khudobin G Carolina Hurricanes 05/07/1986 Ust-Kamenogorsk, KAZ
39 Nikolai Khabibulin G Chicago Blackhawks 01/14/1973 Ekaterinburg, RUS
1 Semyon Varlamov G Colorado Avalanche 04/27/1988 Samara, RUS
6 Nikita Nikitin D Columbus Blue Jackets 06/16/1986 Omsk, RUS
42 Artem Anisimov C Columbus Blue Jackets 05/24/1988 Yaroslavl, RUS
51 Fedor Tyutin D Columbus Blue Jackets 07/19/1983 Izhevsk, RUS
72 Sergei Bobrovsky G Columbus Blue Jackets 09/20/1988 Novokuznetsk, RUS
43 Valeri Nichushkin* RW Dallas Stars 03/04/1995 Chelyabinsk, RUS
55 Sergei Gonchar D Dallas Stars 04/13/1974 Chelyabinsk, RUS
13 Pavel Datsyuk C Detroit Red Wings 07/20/1978 Ekaterinburg, RUS
47 Alexei Marchenko* D Detroit Red Wings 01/02/1992 Moscow, RUS
37 Denis Grebeshkov D Edmonton Oilers 10/11/1983 Yaroslavl, RUS
64 Nail Yakupov RW Edmonton Oilers 10/06/1993 Nizhnekamsk, RUS
77 Anton Belov* D Edmonton Oilers 07/29/1986 Ryazan, RUS
80 Ilya Bryzgalov G Edmonton Oilers 06/22/1980 Togliatti, RUS
7 Dmitry Kulikov D Florida Panthers 10/29/1990 Lipetsk, RUS
26 Vyacheslav Voynov D Los Angeles Kings 01/15/1990 Chelyabinsk, RUS
74 Alexei Emelin D Montreal Canadiens 04/25/1986 Togliatti, RUS
79 Andrei Markov D Montreal Canadiens 12/20/1978 Voskresensk, RUS
21 Andrei Loktionov C New Jersey Devils 05/30/1990 Voskresensk, RUS
28 Anton Volchenkov D New Jersey Devils 02/25/1982 Moscow, RUS
20 Evgeni Nabokov G New York Islanders 07/25/1975 Ust-Kamenogorsk, KAZ
71 Evgeni Malkin C Pittsburgh Penguins 07/31/1986 Magnitogorsk, RUS
91 Vladimir Tarasenko RW St. Louis Blues 12/13/1991 Yaroslavl, RUS
56 Nikita Kucherov* RW Tampa Bay Lightning 06/17/1993 Moscow, RUS
41 Nikolai Kulemin LW Toronto Maple Leafs 07/14/1986 Magnitogorsk, RUS
8 Alexander Ovechkin LW Washington Capitals 09/17/1985 Moscow, RUS
81 Dmitry Orlov D Washington Capitals 07/23/1991 Novokuznetsk,

That’s quite a talent pool. And these cats make lots of good ol’ $US (I believe they are all paid in greenbacks).

What if the US and Canada revoked their work permits? Sent them home? I know it wouldn’t stop Putin, but it might give him a taste of the economic and cultural isolation that would be waiting for him if he carried aloing his jingoist path. This would be more a symbolic act than anything else, but we really don’t have many other tools at our disposal, do we?

Man, the Oilers and Columbus would NOT be pleased!

But I would love to see Ovechkin’s sorry butt escorted to the airport!

Thoughts?

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