Friday December 2nd, 2011

Maria Kirilenko could be part of a new athlete power couple. (Reuters)

Move over, Sasha Vujacic. Make room, Rory McIlroy. Squeeze down a bit, Adam Scott. It could be time to welcome a new WTA HAB: Alexander Ovechkin.

Not long after the Montreal Gazette reported that Maria Kirilenko had apparently split from her longtime boyfriend, ATPer Igor Andreev, Washington Capitals star Ovechkin tweeted a picture of himself with Kirilenko and wrote: "Me and my girlfriend Maria....she is my queen!!!!"

That's a lot of exclamation points, Ovi. But we get it. Kirilenko, who was featured in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue in 2009, is quite the catch. Besides, the Washington winger loves him some tennis. He took in the U.S. Open this year, bringing along his exclamation points, and even got to hand off a hockey sweater to Roger Federer.

So, tennis fans, let's take a moment to get to know Ovi, one of the more colorful characters in the NHL.

Here he is soliciting a date from ... well ... anyone, via MTV Russia. You have to admit, there's a bit of doofus-y charm to the lug.

Ovechkin has been slumping this season, but here's a look back at the good times, when he sped through the streets of Washington, D.C., refused to disclose what he does in his off time and had no problem riling up the hockey world. He's like Marat Safin without teeth.

Of course, Ovechkin isn't the first hockey player to pair up with a tennis player. Anna Kournikova famously did so in her teens, dating Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov seemingly simultaneously. Kournikova's reported marriage with Fedorov didn't last long. That's the heartbreak side of things.

On the positive side, the now-retired Elena Dementieva married Maxim Afinogenov, formerly of the Buffalo Sabres, in July. Interestingly, Kirilenko attended Dementieva's wedding with Andreev. Here's what Kirilenko told Tennis.com about the bouquet toss:

Kirilenko said that before Dementieva tossed the bouquet, Dementieva winked at her to go to the middle of the pack and try to catch it. But she had no such luck.

"All the girls were trying to catch it and then suddenly from somewhere [fellow Russian Vera] Dushevina came and sprinted and stole it from me," Kirilenko said with a laugh.

Sorry, Igor. Blame Vera.

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