Ovechkin, Kuznetsov support Russians playing under neutral flag at Olympics

Craig Hagerman
Anna Sergeeva / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov believe Russian athletes should compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics, at all costs.

On Tuesday the IOC banned Russia from the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, removing the flag, the anthem, and any athletes with a history of doping.

However, clean athletes from Russia will still have the opportunity to participate under a neutral flag, and the Washington Capitals' top Russian-born players believe those who have that opportunity should still participate, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post.

"Some athletes work out for maybe three years to get ready for the Olympics," Ovechkin said. "It's hard. It's tough situation. I think our athletes have to go and do their best."

Related: Kovalchuk says all clean Russian athletes must go to 2018 Olympics

On Tuesday, Russia released the roster for an upcoming Olympic tuneup tournament. The team, on paper appears to be incredibly talented and includes many former NHL players, including Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk.