Two-time National Hockey League most valuable player Alexander Ovechkin is preparing for a possible full year of playing in his native Moscow while locked out by owners in North America, according to a Russian newspaper.
The Washington Capitals’ forward, who turned 27 yesterday, said that he intends to sign with a team in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League while the NHL owners and players’ union continue negotiations on a labor contract, according to the Sovietsky Sport newspaper.
NHL owners locked out players on Sept. 16 following the expiration of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The two sides are at odds over revenue sharing and player compensation.
“If the league keeps holding its ground, the lockout may last the entire year,” Ovechkin said, according to the newspaper. “We are not planning to give up, either. That way I could spend the entire season with KHL. It’s quite possible.”
Ovechkin is negotiating with the Moscow-based clubs CSKA and Dynamo Moscow, his Russian agent Gleb Chistyakov said, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Ovechkin made his professional debut with Dynamo Moscow and two years ago was hired as an adviser to the club, attending promotional events. Sergei Fedorov, his former Capitals teammate who played 18 NHL seasons, is the general manager of CSKA.
More than 300 NHL players competed in Europe during the NHL’s previous lockout, which resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, according to USA Today. Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, last season’s MVP, and his NHL teammate Sergei Gonchar have signed deals with Russia’s Magnitogorsk Metallurg.
-- With assistance from Anastasia Ustinova in Chicago. Editors: Michael Sillup, Larry Siddons.
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