The Russian Hockey Federation wants as many players as possible back in the Kontinental Hockey League next season in preparation for the Olympics without the NHL.
Board chairman Arkady Rotenberg said in a statement Wednesday that the federation will try to keep KHL players from leaving for North America and bring NHL free agents back this summer. He said some Russian players want to go to the Olympics even with an NHL contract. He says that decision is worthy of respect.
Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin reiterated Tuesday he plans to represent Russia in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea despite the NHL announcing it would not participate.
Rotenberg said the federation will help players with legal issues so they can play.