Washington Capitals forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin have formed one of the NHL’s most dynamic duos for years and also maintain a close relationship off the ice. However, the two have decided not to discuss certain things together.
Backstrom recently said in an interview with Expressen that he and the Capitals captain avoid discussing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Ovi and I decided that we wouldn’t talk about politics and what’s happening [over there],” Backstrom said. “The same goes for Washington’s locker room. No one talks about it.”
Ovechkin has faced controversy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. Back in 2017, Ovechkin formed a movement called “Putin Team” supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin. The star left winger’s Instagram profile picture also features him and Putin together. Reports indicated that Ovechkin was going to change it to a symbol for peace but was advised to keep it the same for the safety of his family, who remained in Russia while Ovechkin was in the United States finishing the 2021-22 campaign.
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At a press conference in Philadelphia following Russia’s invasion, Ovechkin promoted world peace and asked for “no more war.”
“Please no more war. Doesn’t matter who’s in the war. Russia, Ukraine, different countries. I think we live in the world, like we have to live in peace and great world,” Ovechkin said in February.
The team has two other Russians currently on the roster in Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov. Ilya Samsonov was also on the team but left for the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason. In the system, there are multiple Russian prospects, including Alexander Alexeyev, Bogdan Trineyev and 2022 first-round selection Ivan Miroshnichenko.
Backstrom also commented on the ongoing war, which has been ongoing since the initial invasion.
“What’s going on there is really terrible,” Backstrom added. “Children, adults, innocent people suffer.”