Berliner Zeitung (Germany): Alexander Ovechkin is a bully with a scorer instinct | Sports | Foreign media

The Russian NHL professional stands out for his offensive abilities, he is even able to break the record of the legendary Canadian Wayne Gretzky.

There is an eleventh minute of the match, the players of the Carolina Hurricanes club lead 1-0, the hockey players of Capitals Washington attack, helmets, clubs and gloves fly off the ice. Alexander Ovechkin, a left-handed forward of the Capitals of a heroic appearance, and his young compatriot Andrei Svechnikov attacked each other with their bare fists. As a result, Ovechkin finds himself on the penalty box, and Svechnikov with a concussion in the hospital.

In fact, Russian hockey strikers are considered elegant technical players, not brawlers. But Alexander Ovechkin is both. “The most magnificent scorer in hockey history,” as Nikita Zadorov, another Russian NHL legionnaire, called him, a convinced bully. “Anyway, with whom you are fighting, there are no friends or compatriots in the playoffs,” commented Ovechkin, who is 1.91 meters tall and weighs 107 kilograms. “You fight to get the Stanley Cup.” And if there is an obstacle in your way, then you need to break through it. “

Ovechkin scored 706 goals in the NHL

Ovechkin, who in the USA is lovingly called Ovi or, according to his team number, the “Great Eight,” is a steam-skating rink. As part of the Russian national team, he twice won the world title, with the Dynamo Moscow – the Gagarin Cup, and with the Capitals Washington – the Stanley Cup. Nine times he was recognized as the best scorer of the NHL, including last season. To date, the Capitals striker has scored 705 goals scored against the NHL teams, and often these were filigree shots made with just one turn of the wrist.

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Sports talent was inherited by him. Ovechkin’s mother as a member of the Soviet national basketball team won Olympic gold twice, her father played football for Dynamo Moscow. Alexander at the age of eight in the same club began to play hockey, proving himself to be an exceptionally talented athlete. He underwent a thorough training in the speed and technology-oriented Soviet school of ice hockey. Like other novice players, he dreamed of playing in the NHL, the world‘s best hockey league.

At 17, he scored his first goal for the Russian national team; at 20, he moved to Capitals, where he finished the first season as the best novice player in the NHL. “He has a terrific shot,” explains defender Luca Sbisa of Winnipeg Jets. “He skates very well. He has a powerful body and tremendous breakdown power. Even after 14 seasons no one managed to find a way to stop Ovechkin.”

Washington Public Favorite

“Perhaps other Russian NHL players are more creative and multilateral,” says Moscow hockey journalist Igor Rabiner. “But all over the world for several decades there has been no striker who could compare with Ovechkin.” The constancy with which he scores 40-50 goals each season is unbelievable. “Despite the return with which he plays, since 2005 in the NHL he has missed only 31 matches. This shows how professionally he handles his body. ” As a fitness trainer, Ovechkin hired a former Russian marathon runner.

According to Rabiner, in relation to the scorer qualities of Ovechkin can be compared with Messi or Ronaldo. True, both players do not have the same abilities to neutralize opponents that the Russian hero possesses. Ovechkin is not just a superstar, he is also a favorite of the public. “Washington spectators instantly fell in love with the spectacular, aggressive, sometimes selfish manner of his playing,” the Russian Forbes wrote.

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Ovechkin has a scar at the gap in the right corner of his mouth, with a smile he does not hide the absence of one of his front teeth. His already slightly gray hair was standing on end on end – a bad advertisement for his hairdresser. “I get a haircut once every two months,” jokes Ovechkin, who is fluent in English. “It costs me $ 50.”

$ 15.4 million in annual revenue

Ovechkin is a Muscovite, married, has a child. He has undeniable charisma. He talks about his favorite computer games Clash of clans and Candy Crush in the same ingenuous tone as about the Hollywood movie, watching which he barely held back tears. He’s a pretty steam rink next door, and the whole world knows he wears number eight because he was the same on his mother’s basketball jersey. If Hollywood wanted to make a film about Ovechkin’s life, then he himself would become an ideal lead actor.

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In 2008, he signed with Capitals a record contract: for 13 years and 134 million dollars. He has four million followers on Twitter and Instagram. Companies Nike and Coca-Cola, the manufacturer of luxury watches Hublot, are advertising with him – with the help of a friendly giant with a hole between his teeth, their goods are sold beautifully. In Russia, his images are particularly popular, especially among banks. Forbes estimates that his annual income is $ 14.5.

Advertises Vladimir Putin

In Russia, Ovechkin also makes advertisements for Vladimir Putin. Naturally, for free. In 2017, he created PutinTeam, the “Putin team.” The economic newspaper Vedomosti wrote that this idea arose in one of the PR agencies before the 2018 presidential election. Dozens of famous athletes joined the initiative. Verbally, Ovechkin was the first to kneel before the leader of the nation, congratulating Putin on his birthday with the following words: “Your wisdom, strength and sense of humor have made you a symbol of our country.”

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Such slightly shocking statements are not uncommon for Russian sports celebrities who are replenishing the ranks of the United Russia party after the end of an active career in sports. The giant Ovechkin has repeatedly fought off the question of journalists if he is going to become a sports minister after returning to his homeland. As a rule, he replies that he has no experience and that it is too early to talk about it. Reporters interviewing Ovechkina say he is reluctant to answer political questions. Like other careerists, famous athletes for the most part do not differ in their critical attitude to the system.

Once he said that everything is not so simple. He lives in America because it is better for his career and for his hockey. “I like to be where I do best.” And it is still not at all clear whether Ovechkin will return to Russia next year, when his contract of the century expires in order to secure his participation in the 2022 Olympics, because there is no Olympic gold in it yet.

In addition, only in the NHL can Ovechkin beat the Canadian’s seemingly unattainable record of Wayne Gretzky, who scored 894 goals. “If someone succeeds,” says his colleague, also striker Leon Draisaitl of the Edmont Oilers club, “then only he.”

InoSMI materials contain estimates of exclusively foreign media and do not reflect the position of the InoSMI editorial staff.

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