Goals and assists apparently outweigh geopolitical issues among some NHL fans.
The jersey of Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin has remained one of the most sought-after jerseys among hockey fans.
Over the years and especially over the last 12 months, the Russian-born Ovechkin has received criticism for his support of Russian president Vladimir Putin despite the hockey great’s protestations that he’s not into politics.
There is plenty of Virginia sports betting action on the Capitals to be had as their star chases history.
Below is the projected top 10 in NHL jersey sales after the current season.
No. 8 For Capitals is No. 1 in Searches
Regardless of the degree of the superstar’s connection with Putin as the war in Ukraine rages, many hockey fans apparently don’t mind wearing Ovechkin’s No. 8 hockey sweater.
BetVirginia.com used Google Trends to look at the most searched NHL jerseys over the past season by utilizing the phrase “player name jersey” to determine how eagerly hockey fans have been searching on the internet to buy their favorite player’s jersey.
As it turns out, Ovechkin’s jersey ranks at the top of the list. Connor McDavid, No. 97 of the Edmonton Oilers, is second in the jersey derby, and Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby’s black-and-gold No. 87 is third.
So though Ovechkin, with 33 goals this season, is a +10000 longshot at DraftKings Virginia Sportsbook to win the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goalscorer (McDavid, with 50 goals, is at -400), Washington’s captain is still leading one category.
Also interesting were the locations outside the specific marketing area of the player’s team that drew the most attention for the jersey.
For instance, in Ovechkin’s case, the region outside the Capitals’ home territory in the greater Washington D.C. area that accounted for the most searches for his jersey was hockey-savvy Massachusetts.
So it’s not just customers using online Virginia sportsbook apps who are interested in Ovi.
Ovechkin Surpasses 800 Career NHL Goals
On the ice, Ovechkin’s credentials are impeccable.
Ovechkin is in a chase to catch Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record for NHL goals scored. Gretzky scored 894 career goals playing for four NHL teams over 21 seasons (and 46 goals playing for Edmonton and Indianapolis in the WHA). In his pursuit of “The Great One,” Ovechkin, sometimes called “The Great 8,” has 813 NHL goals going into Wednesday’s game against the Ducks in Anaheim. He’s in his 18th season, all with Washington.
This season, Ovechkin became the third NHL player ever with 800 career goals, then quickly passed Hall of Famer Gordie Howe (801) for second on the all-time list.
Ovechkin, 37, in on a point-per-game pace this season with 24 assists and those 33 goals, for 57 points over 57 games. Washington is in a scramble in the Eastern Conference, trying to land a wild card spot in the playoffs.
The Caps have +8000 odds at BetMGM Virginia Sportsbook to lift the franchise’s second Stanley Cup in 2023.
Controversial Connection With Vladimir Putin
Ovechkin, though clearly uncomfortable talking about international politics, did start PutinTeam, a social movement, in 2017 to support the Russian president and his then political campaign.
His response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine a year ago was a plea for “no more war” without criticizing Putin. Ovechkin also has close family members living in Russia.
Despite any of that, Ovechkin’s jersey is obviously still a hot item among hockey fans.
Check out the best Virginia sportsbook promo codes available as the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs approach.