Russia President Vladimir Putin made national headlines on Thursday when he offered political asylum to James Comey.
“[Comey] said he’d written down his conversation with President [Trump] and handed it to the media through a friend of his,” Putin said, according to NPR and a translation by Radio Free Europe. “This does sound and look odd: the director of a security service making records of his talks with the supreme commander and handing it over to the media through a friend of his.”
Putin was speaking at an annual Direct Line appearance on state TV, in which he spends hours taking questions from a studio audience and from civilians across Russia.
While Putin made his remarks, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was spotted sitting in the crowd.
#Putin: We are ready to provide political asylum to #Comey if there’s some kind of prosecution in the US https://t.co/mCryvrRUAK pic.twitter.com/aY5tSPClxD
— RT (@RT_com) June 15, 2017
After the event was over, Ovechkin spoke to Sovetsky Sport and explained why he was in attendance.
“I wanted to talk about the situation in the KHL,” Ovechkin said as translated by Igor Kleyner. “About Novokuznetsk, and Dynamo.”
The Kontinental Hockey League is suffering from severe financial problems. In the spring, the league removed Dmitry Orlov’s former KHL team, Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Croatian team Medvescak Zagreb, who was at one time coached by former Hershey Bears’ bench boss Mark French, said in March it would withdraw to join the Austrian-based EBEL league.
Ovechkin’s former Russian league team, Dynamo Moscow, is also in a dicey situation. General Director Andrey Safronov has been forced out as the team is almost $50 million in debt. Players have not been paid in months and Dynamo Society is taking over the team. A lot of former players are against this takeover. Here’s why.
There are a lot of Dynamos in various Russian cities, and in numerous sports. They all come under this umbrella All-Russia Sporting Society Dynamo. They are the ones controlling the money coming from sponsorship. And they are the ones cutting off the flow of sponsor funds to Dynamo Moscow. Dynamo Society claims they are doing it because Safronov mismanaged the funds and there are accusations of embezzlement, double-accounting, and outright theft.
Meanwhile Dynamo Moscow’s participation in the KHL next season is in doubt, which is a shocking turn of events for one of the most decorated Russian hockey teams of all time.
Ovechkin elaborated on his feelings with Sovetsky Sport.
Are you ready to express your personal position on this hot topic?
Alex Ovechkin: “It’s a great pity that such things are happening in our sport. I hope the teams experiencing difficulties will overcome them. And their supporters will see their favorite team on the ice.”
Can you imagine that Dynamo may miss a season because of internal squabbles?
Alex Ovechkin: “I cannot imagine such thing. Such a great team, with such history… I hope it doesn’t happen.”
What can be done?
Alex Ovechkin: “There is club management. There is Dynamo Sporting Society Central Council. Many are concerned about its fate. And doing everything they can to make sure the fans can come to the arena and support their team.
“You also have to think about the youth academy. It needs support. You cannot break that chain. The academy must live, and produce new players. And Dynamo needs to be where we expect it to be: contending for the top position in the table.”
You must have talked to some of the players…
Alex Ovechkin: “I just met with the team captain Aleksey Tereshenko. The guys are upset. He found out that I will be at Direct Line.
“Unfortunately I did not get a chance to ask my questions. Because I had quite a few for the President. But that’s okay. Next time, if I get a chance, I will talk to Vladimir Vladimirovich about hockey.”
How is your injured leg?
Alex Ovechkin: “Everything is good now. Nothing stops me from practicing fully. I will prepare properly.”
While Ovechkin and Putin are friends, the Russian machine has called himself “neutral” when it comes to politics.
“I have a good relationship with Russians, and with Americans. So I’m neutral,” Ovechkin told CNN’s World Sport show in January.
In March 2016, Ovechkin visited the United States Capitol building to help fight physical inactivity and help Get America Moving. Ovechkin accidentally broke a chair while meeting with congressional members.
While Putin did not have an opportunity to interact with Ovechkin, the president did take several, uh, interesting questions.
“What is the largest fish you have ever caught?”
Putin replied, “20 kilograms (44 pounds),” while also acknowledging that if someone added a bit of weight to the scale when he wasn’t looking, he hadn’t noticed.
A 12yo girl asked Putin what time he would choose to go to if he could travel in time. Putin said time travel would require considerations. He personally would like to go back in time and see how decisions crucial for Russia’s history had been taken, but he would not do so if time travel would pose the threat of altering history.
I will now end this post with several more crucial videobombs of Ovi.
Video of the full event can be seen here.
Additional reporting and translations by Igor Kleyner.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.