Capitals GM Defends Alex Ovechkin: ‘It’s Difficult For All The Russian Players’

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Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has come to the aid of his star forward Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin, who hails from Moscow, Russia, has faced criticism in the past week for his prior support of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And given the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ovechkin’s support of Putin has been a major topic of conversation around the NHL.

Speaking with the media Wednesday, MacLellan said people should be sympathetic towards Ovechkin and other Russian players.

“It’s difficult for all the Russian players in the league,” MacLellan said, via NBC Sports Washington. “There’s a lot of pressure put on them to have a political opinion either way, and they’re trying to balance out how they live their lives and what their political opinions are and the repercussions that could happen back home.

“[Ovechkin’s] a good person, he’s an emotional person, and he takes things personally. I think he’s been put under an incredible amount of pressure. You know, for us, it’s about how do we support him. 

“He’s been the face of our franchise and the face of hockey in this area, his family has grown up here, his kids are from here, and because of his status, he’s put in a hard situation to probably handle — a situation that I’m not sure that he’s fully thought out or that anybody has, really. It’s hard for him.”

Ovechkin addressed the media after Friday’s team practice and preached a message of unity.

“Please, no more war,” Ovechkin said. “It doesn’t matter who is in the war. Russia, Ukraine, different countries. I think we live in a world, like, we have to live in peace and a great world.”

Ovechkin has seen multiple sponsors distance themselves from him, including CCM and MassMutual. NHL Hall of Fame goaltender Dominik Hasek has been harsh on Ovechkin, calling him a “chicken shit.”

“The NHL must immediately suspend contracts for all Russian players,” Hasek wrote, via Twitter. “Every athlete represents not only himself and his club, but also his country and its values and actions. That is a fact. If the NHL does not do so, it has indirect co-responsibility for the dead in Ukraine.”

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Follow Nick Geddes on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes. 

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.


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  1. I love the Dom as a goalie and a player. But dang is that a bad take. How can you hold a player or person accountable for their government. I get going after him for his past support for Putin. But it’s not like he is still defending him.

  2. It’s hard to hold a player responsible for the actions of his government.
    We just had Olympics in China! Where was the outrage?
    I think Russia is wrong by invading Ukraine, but to suspend Russian players is ridiculous.

  3. Yeah Hasek has been unhinged lately. Ovi has family in Russia , he couldn’t come out and slam Putin even if he wanted to and I’m not sure he would want to anyway. Zelensky is a globalist NWO plant from Soros and Obama. This is on them more than Russia in my eyes. They always wanted to push Putin to war.

  4. Dominik Hasek is a giant sack of shit. Ove didn’t start the war and does not have any power to control it. Leave him alone.
    Hasek should talk the the dementia ridden pants shitting idiot Biden for killing Americas energy sector, financing Putins war while taking millions in bribes from Ukraine

  5. Agree w/ the comments above. Are we really this dumb as a society that we can’t compartmentalize shit? Unless Ovi came out in direct support of Putin then there is no reason to attach the dude. Speaking out changes nothing and only puts your family in jeopardy. The “please, no war” is more than sufficient.

    • Totally agree with you. This is my fear – that people will start cancelling, or worse, physically hurting Russian people in this country simply for being Russian. I felt the same way when Asians were being attacked (and still are) because of China releasing Covid on the world. We’re better than that.

  6. Putin has been in power for 20 years and everyone knows what he is about so this hockey player has supported him maybe he currently isn’t but the article said he has in the past so he owns it and its fair to criticize. Is our society dumb prolly look who we are electing nuff said lol

  7. Talk about racist…. Not letting someone participate in sports because of the country they’re from is true racism…. Not all this other bullshit that gets mislabeled as racist

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