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Stanley Cup won’t visit Russia, Belarus for player celebrations this summer

Rich Eisen and the guys try to solve an age-old sports mystery: Why is it called the “Stanley Cup Final” instead of the “Stanley Cup Finals"?

No matter who ends up winning between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, the Stanley Cup will not be making its way to Belarus or Russia this summer.

During a Wednesday press conference ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that due to the war in Ukraine the trophy will not travel to those countries and both teams have been informed of the decision.

“To the extent we may owe a Cup trip in the future, that can happen, just like we’ve done with the pandemic,” Daly said. “But it’s not happening this summer.”

This decision would affect Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev, and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning, and Valeri Nichushkin of the Avalanche.

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In February, the NHL ceased its dealings with the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League after the invasion began. Teams were told to stop all contact with Russia-based agents as the memorandum of understanding between leagues was suspended.

Unlike in other leagues and sports around the world, Daly said the NHL will not ban Russian and Belarusian players from being eligible for next month’s draft in Montreal.

“They are going to be totally available for selection, just like they are every year,” Daly said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if some may slip in where they’re projected to go just based on the inability to access them, potentially.”


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.