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Hockey star Ovechkin reaches 1,000 points
01:58 - Source: CNN

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Ovechkin captains Washington Capitals

Recently racked up 1,000 NHL points

Fourth Russian player to do so

CNN  — 

Alex Ovechkin has a very diplomatic answer when asked what it’s like to be a Russian living in Washington at a time of escalating political tensions.

“I have a good relationship with Russians, and with Americans. So I’m neutral,” the ice hockey star told CNN’s World Sport show.

Ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday, criticisms of the President-elect’s alleged close relationship with Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin have begun to mount.

Ovechkin, who has been a key player for the Washington Capitals for the past decade, said he’s had no adverse reaction from the NHL team’s fans.

“They love me and I love them,” the 31-year-old said.

Last week, the Capitals captain became the 84th player to score 1,000 points in the NHL, in his 880th game. He is the fourth Russia-born player to do so, and the 37th to achieve it with the same franchise.

“It’s a great moment for me, and it was important to reach that kind of milestone,” said Ovechkin, who was the NHL’s No. 1 draft pick in 2004.

However, he is still seeking an elusive Stanley Cup – Washington regularly reaches the playoffs, and is on course to do so again this season, but has never won the title.

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“Anyone who plays in the NHL dreams to win the Stanley Cup,” he said, “and I dreamed as well to be one of them and raise the cup in Washington and bring it home to Moscow and celebrate with my friends and my parents.”