If Alex Ovechkin spoke English and/or played a sport other than hockey, I'm pretty sure he'd be the most popular athlete in America. Or the most universally reviled. One or the other.
But because of the language barrier and hockey's relative obscurity (relative to, say, football or basketball), we don't get many close-ups at Ovechkin off the ice. But when we do... Well, here, a writer witnesses Ovechkin with two women he met at a club. This excerpt from GQ's upcoming profile of Ovechkin comes via DC Sports Bog:
They're dressed like snow bunnies and have clearly had at least some skating classes between them. ... it becomes rather obvious he's planning to keep both...[He] takes turns making out with Lera while Olesya documents the proceedings and making out with Olesya while Lera does the documenting.
On the ice, Ovechkin pairs spectacular goals with brutal hits, and off it, he pairs ridiculous quotes with surreal behavior, giving us a neverending stream of absurdity. And amidst a sea of boring, politically correct athletes, Ovechkin gets to be himself, just bobbing along to his own beat. He exists to have fun, have sex, and generally, run roughshod over life. He's the closest thing sports has to a rockstar.
And it's not schtick; if anything, the language barrier mutes his appeal. Or maybe it protects him, saving him from the scrutiny that might force him to change his ways. And if that's the case, then thank God for language barriers. From another excerpt:
Each time he sees a pretty girl walking by, Ovechkin shouts "BOOM!" at the top of his lungs.
...And that's why we love Ovie. Some things just translate regardless.