If one thing was for certain when the NHL announced it would mobilize an international tournament on its own ice, it's that the league would at some point clash with the Russian Hockey Federation.
Well, here we are.
In response to an ESPN report Friday morning that suggested the NHL would work to block former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov from participating in the showcase event, Russian coach Oleg Znarok has fired back.
Znarok stated, as translated by Russian reporter Igor Eronko and retrieved by Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman:
"Only we, I mean our coaching staff and Hockey Russia, can determine who's going to play and who's not. World Cup is an international tournament, it's not just (the NHL's). So I don't think there should be any questions regarding Voynov."
Voynov received an indefinite suspension from the NHL in October 2014 after he was arrested on domestic violence charges. He returned to Russia after serving a 90-day jail sentence, and played 23 games for SKA St. Petersburg this past season.
He was one of seven Russian players added to the World Cup final roster.