Sports | November 5, 2017 10:00 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin Scores Support of NHL Star Alex Ovechkin

On Instagram, hockey superstar voices his support for his native country's president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) poses for a photo with Russian ice hockey team players Alexander Ovechkin (center) and Nikolay Kulyomin at the Kremlin May 27, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) poses for a photo with Russian ice hockey team players Alexander Ovechkin (center) and Nikolay Kulyomin at the Kremlin May 27, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has scored with the Kremlin.

As investigations continue over the role Russian influence played in the 2016 presidential election in his adopted home, the three-time NHL MVP took to social media to announce his allegiance to the president of his native country.

Ovechkin posted an Instagram post Thursday afternoon reiterating his support for the “Putin Team” ahead of Russia’s March 18 election. But the hockey player later qualified his support to locker room reporters, saying that “it’s not about political stuff.”

 

Личные награды и призы – все это здорово, но в хоккее, как и в любом деле, для победы важнее команда. Только команда способна переломить ход игры, сделать невозможное. В последнее время в западной прессе я встречаю сочетание Putin’s team, то есть команда Путина. И знаете, мне очень понравилось это определение. Лично я готов быть частью такой команды. Я никогда не скрывал своего отношения к нашему Президенту, всегда открыто его поддерживая. Я уверен, что нас, поддерживающих Владимира Путина, много! Так давайте объединимся и покажем всем сильную и сплоченную Россию! Сегодня я хочу объявить о том, что создаю общественное движение под названием Putin Team. Быть частью такой команды – для меня гордость, это похоже на ощущение, когда ты надеваешь майку сборной России, зная, что за тебя болеет вся страна. #putinteam

A post shared by Alexander Ovechkin (@aleksandrovechkinofficial) on Nov 2, 2017 at 9:07am PDT

That seems hard to reconcile with the wording of the post itself.

“Personal achievements and medals—all of this great, but in hockey, like with everything, to win it’s important to have a team. Only a team is capable of changing the course of a game, achieve the impossible,” Ovechkin wrote in his post, according to a translation by The Washington Post. “Lately, in the Western Press, I’m noticing a comparison to Putin’s team. And you know, I really liked that comparison. Personally, I’m ready to be a member of that team. I never hid my relationship with our president, always openly supported him.

“I’m certain that there are many of us that support Vladimir Putin. Let’s unite and show everyone a strong and united Russia. Today, I want to announce a social movement in the name of Putin Team. Be a part of this team—to me it’s a privilege, it’s like the feeling of when you put on the jersey of the Russian team, knowing that the whole country is rooting for you.”

As Russia’s most famous current export to the United States, Ovechkin’s attempt at a social movement on Putin’s behalf caught the attention of the Kremlin.

“We definitely welcome (Ovechkin’s) wish to express his support of our president, especially from abroad,” Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday, according to the Associated Press.