Evgeni Malkin was the second high-profile Russian NHL'er to publicly support Vladimir Putin for re-election in 2018 - following in the footsteps of Alex Ovechkin.
He had posted a picture of himself with Putin on social media earlier this week.
Sports and politics are two things that have not gone too well together this year - pretty sure we don't need to delve into what happened with the national anthems in the US.
Malkin finally spoke about his allegiance to Putin and his reason for posting about it online.
“We play here, we're far, but we understand what's going on,” Malkin said after a game at Ottawa on Thursday night, as reported by Jonathan Bombulie of Trib Live. “We try to be together. It's not like me or Ovy are right hand for Putin. We just try to support because 2018, we have World Cup in Russia. They have election, too. It's a tough year. We want to be together and support him.”
He went on to say that it's a "tough time right now with Olympics, what's going on with doping. It's a tough situation. I want to support not just president. I want to support all athletics, all sportsmen, and support my country.”
It's a tricky time in the United States' political landscape - with Putin's involvement in the election controversies, it's a touchy time to be publicly supporting him on American soil.