- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Alexander Ovechkin has been a major part of the nation’s capital for the last decade.

With 546 goals scored in generally electric style, Ovechkin has lit up the NHL and has become synonymous with the city of Washington.

But the 31-year-old has deep ties with his homeland of Russia. Born in Moscow, Ovechkin is passionate about his country, evident in his frequent returns in the offseason and stellar play for Russia at the international hockey stage.

Ovechkin also has strong ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Ovechkin and Putin have been frequently photographed together, most famously while celebrating a World Championship. One shot features a helpful Ovechkin letting Putin drink from the trophy.

Ovechkin once posted a photo on his Instagram account of himself holding a sign that said “#Save Children From Fascism.” The photo was posted near the early stages of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and, taken at face value, implied that that Ovechkin was offering support to the Ukrainian rebels supported by Putin. 

Ovechkin later clarified that the sign was meant to indicate his opposition to all war.

With President-elect Donald Trump taking over the Oval Office on Friday, the state of Russian-American relations is again dominating the news — and Ovechkin’s perspective on the friction between the two countries is in demand.

Asked by CNN what it’s like to live in Washington as a recognizable Russian, Ovechkin sounded like a man trying to straddle, as best he can, two distinct camps.

“I have a good relationship with Russians, and with Americans,” Ovechkin said. “So I’m neutral.”

Ovechkin also talked about his years-long pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

“Anyone who plays in the NHL dreams to win the Stanley Cup,” he said, “I dreamed as well to be one of them and raise the cup in Washington and bring it home to Moscow and celebrate with my friends and my parents.”

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