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USATSI

Former Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk was reportedly holed up in a Russian monastery with an ultraconservative priest who most recently made headlines for being an open denier of the existence of the coronavirus. But that story was put to rest after some cursory reporting discovered that the former Red Wing was actually with his family in a cottage, per his agent.

Father Sergei, the Russian Orthodox priest in question, believes that news of the disease is just a government conspiracy, according to The Moscow Times. Religious authorities apparently barred Sergei from being a public minister back in April for failing to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines set in place. It wasn't until Tuesday that he responded to this decision with the forceful takeover of a monastery in Sredneuralsk, which he helped found in 2005. He chased out the leader, who was installed after his removal, and installed a perimeter of Cossack fighters to guard the site.

"I'm not going anywhere... they'll have to chase me out with police and the National Guard," Father Sergei announced Wednesday, per Russian publication ZNAK.

Where Datsyuk was supposed to come in was not exactly clear, but the rumor was spread through local media.

Of course, the connection between the former Detroit player and Father Sergei didn't exactly materialize in this moment out of thin air. He is apparently a supporter of the priest, who serves as Datsyuk's personal confessor. The two-time Stanley Cup champion had high praise of Father Sergei earlier this year.

"Father Sergei has been my spiritual father for more than 10 years," Datsyuk said, per Championat. "[He] has a burning, loving heart, he sees me through and through. He is strict, but also very kind."

Datsyuk left the NHL after 14 years in 2016 and returned to Russia, where he has played in the KHL ever since.