Putin celebrates 63rd birthday with ice hockey game and seven goals

Story highlights

  • Putin scored seven goals in a game that featured ex-NHL stars
  • His defense minister played on his team, hours after briefing him on Syria strikes

(CNN)Not the kind of guy to miss a flattering photo op, Russian President Vladimir Putin put his skates on for his 63rd birthday and took to the ice.

The leader, famous for posing shirtless on horseback and in other unashamedly macho situations, played in a hockey game Wednesday night alongside former NHL stars.
    As you'd expect, Putin's team won. And the man himself scored seven goals.
    The President's teammates included former Vancouver Canucks player Pavel Bure, as well as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who earlier in the day had been briefing Putin on Russia's latest round of military strikes in Syria.
    Despite his impressive scoring feats on the rink in the southern city of Sochi, Putin only "mastered" ice hockey in recent years, according to the Russian news agency Tass.
    Watch how Vladimir Putin celebrated his birthday
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    The President is, as Russian state media like to point out, an active man.
    The news agency Sputnik said his performance Wednesday was "an indication that his strong physique shows no sign of weakening." In April, a presidential spokesman said Putin's daily exercises "exceed by far" the limits set under Soviet-era fitness regimes.
    His prowess in judo and karate -- he has black belts in both martial arts -- has been well noted, as well.
    The Russian news website pravda.ru also reports that Putin enjoys bobsleigh, curling, badminton -- and arm wrestling.
    But it's unclear whether he's a match for U.S. President Barack Obama on the golf course or the basketball court.