One of the biggest names in the NHL is saying he may have to remain in the KHL if players in the NHL are forced to take a pay cut whenever a new CBA is drafted. Washington Capitals superstar, Alexander Ovechkin, announced on Wednesday that he will be playing for the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow for the duration of the NHL lockout and possibly longer.
Ovechkin spoke with a Russian news agency on Wednesday about the NHL lockout and of course his new contract with his new team that allows him to return to the NHL when in fact the lockout comes to an end. I don’t speak Russian, I took Russian for about an hour in High School and have never suffered a worse migraine, but thankfully Slava Malamud of the Sports-Express does and this is his translation of what Ovechkin said:
“I knew that Dynamo was interested in me, as my Russia-based representative had immediately told me that. But we had already promised CSKA to only negotiate with them. But then, there was a small snag. We asked [CSKA] whether we can start negotiating with someone else. In the end, we started making contact with Dynamo and reached an agreement. As to the future, it will depend on what kind of conditions there will be in the NHL with the new CBA. If our contracts get slashed, I will have to think whether to return there or not. I won’t rule out staying in the KHL, even past this season.”
Pretty intense stuff right there, that is if you believe him. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ovechkin did remain in the KHL (or if any Russian did for that matter), however I’m just not buying it. Considering current CBA negotiations are at a standstill and one of the biggest holdups is owners requesting players not only take a pay cut when it comes to hockey related revenue but also accept smaller contracts, it seems like an empty threat by Ovechkin.
I’m aware he could make more money by staying in the KHL and probably lives like a bigger rock star over there then he already does here in America, but if the NHL did resume and Ovechkin stayed in Russia he would be in immediate violation of his current contract with the Washington Capitals that runs through the 2020-21 NHL season. What exactly does that mean? It means his breach of contract would also be in violation of the NHL and KHL’s deal of honoring players current contracts in their respective league. Not to mention it would most definitely bring sanctions upon Ovechkin from the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) and could potentially lead to the NHL not allowing players to participate in the Olympics. He would be stirring up quite the hornets nest if he chooses to stay in the KHL.
So, while I wouldn’t be surprised if Ovechkin stayed overseas as well as any Russian for that matter, you can see why I doubt the seriousness of Ovechkin’s ‘threat” to remain overseas if NHL players are forced to take a pay cut.
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