Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman and Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg, both locks for Sweden's Olympic team, have criticized Russian laws that ban "homosexual propaganda"ahead of the Sochi games.
"That's completely wrong, we're all humans. No one should have a say in what way you're sexually oriented," Victor Hedman told Aftonbladet's Linus Norberg this week.
"The Olympics is there for a reason and everyone should be able to participate and be themselves. Everyone should stand up for homosexuals' rights."
Hedman said he'd support the Swedish Olympic Committee if it decided to stage a protest.
Zetterberg, meanwhile, called the laws "awful, just awful."
"I think that everyone should be able to be themselves. It's unbelievable that it can be this way in this time, especially in a big county like Russia."
Expect a lot more of this in the coming months. Hockey is the marquee sport of the Winter Olympics, and NHL players are the only winter athletes we're familiar with on a regular basis. Once the season starts, they're going to regularly be asked their thoughts on the matter. Some, like Hedman and Zetterberg, will criticize Russia. Others, like Henrik Lundqvist, will refuse comment. The real fun will come when reporters corner the NHL's Russian stars.