Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin calls Vladimir Putin a “nice guy” and believes the big man in Moscow would triumph in a free-for-all with the big man in Washington, DC.
TMZ caught up with the three-time NHL MVP in Los Angeles. Since it’s TMZ, the reporter did not stray away from controversy and asked the Russian player if Russian President Vladimir Putin is as intimidating as he shows in pictures and videos.
“No, he’s a nice guy,” answered Ovechkin. “No comment on politics!”
But that did not stop the TMZ reporter. He asked the hockey player who would win in a steel cage match, President Barack Obama or Putin.
“I don’t know,” he said as he tried to walk away. “Probably Putin.”
Ovechkin probably wanted to stray away from politics because of the escalation of tensions between Russia and America. It started in March 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and invaded east Ukraine on the premise of protecting ethnic Russians. Ovechkin showed his love for his home country and president in 2014 despite Moscow’s actions. In September, Ovechkin raised eyebrows when he posted a picture of himself with a sign that said “Save children from fascism.” The caption says, “Our grandparents have seen the horrors of fascism! We will not allow it in our time!!!”
In October, Ovechkin wished Putin a happy birthday with his Instagram account.
“Happy Birthday! You are on the right track and we have always respected your actions and support you always and everywhere as we also love our country!! Health to you and your loved ones!!”
Ovechkin is not the only Russian player who voices love and admiration for Putin. Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov caused outrage when he posted a picture of himself in a Putin t-shirt that said “Crimea Is Ours.” He quickly removed the picture when fans lashed out at him.
— Gabrielle T-F (@gabrielletf) September 15, 2014
The Facebook page “Ban All Russian Players Who Support Putin Including Ovechkin” appeared after Russian hockey players voiced support for Moscow. The cover photo for the page is Ovechkin receiving a Russian hockey jersey from Putin.