Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov is against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Zadorov, a 12-year NHL veteran who hails from Moscow, hopes his opinion makes a profound impact on the ongoing conflict, per The Hockey News' Randy Sportak.
“I understand the consequences from my Motherland, word's going to come out and how they're going to react over there, but I think it's really important for people to know my point of view on that. And I think it's important for young guys, Russian players, to know it's okay to speak out. I just have a hope – maybe it's a child hope – but I hope my words can change something in this world. I think it's important to speak out,” Zadorov said.
Nikita Zadorov also knows some people view Russians in a negative light because of the conflict with Ukraine. He said that's an unfair assessment – he and many of his compatriots share the same anti-war sentiment. Unfortunately, many Russians cannot leave their country and find a good job elsewhere. With that in mind, Zadorov feels blessed to strut his wares in hockey's highest level.
— nhlflames (@nhlflame) September 21, 2023
Nikita Zadorov and the Flames were a major disappointment last season. They had a 38-27-17 record and missed the postseason. The departures of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk obviously set them back in Darryl Sutter's final season at the helm. Tkachuk played clutch hockey for the upstart Florida Panthers last season. That was a painful sight for Calgary – the Panthers reached the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final while the Flames were on vacation.
If guys such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Jacob Markstrom, and Andrew Mangiapane get their act together, the Flames have a good chance of playing playoff hockey again.