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Ovechkin rips owners for CBA demands

Sep 4, 2012, 4:11 PM EDT

Winnipeg Jets v Washington Capitals Getty Images

Speaking with reporters today in Virginia, Capitals captain and NHLPA soldier Alex Ovechkin ripped the NHL for making what he deems unfair demands of the players in the escalating CBA negotiations.

“It’s not fair for us,” Ovechkin said, as per “They still make money. They still sell tickets and they have money. Why they sign us to long-term deals and that kind of money and when the CBA is done they want to cut our salary? Why do they want to cut 20 percent?

“If they’re going to cut a percentage of the contracts and years, I don’t think lots of guys who sign American deals are going to come back and play here. It’s not reasonable to be here. You have to think of your future. You have to think of your family.”

While the NHL’s latest proposal doesn’t include a salary rollback, the players argue they’d still lose money due to increased escrow payments.

“From a players’ standpoint,” union head Donald Fehr said recently, “it doesn’t make much difference. If the player doesn’t get the dollar value of his contract because of a roll back in the contract, or whether he doesn’t get an amount because there’s escrow, he still doesn’t get it. It amounts to the same thing.”

With $88 million still left to be paid out on Ovechkin’s $124 million contract, it’s not surprising he’s prepared to fight.

“Of course it’s going to be hard [if there’s a lockout,” said Ovechkin, “and of course it’s going to be a long time to wait. But it is what it is. Everybody wants to play hockey and make money. Nobody wants to play for free.”

  1. mpg44 - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Did you really think the CBA would never be an issue when you signed a ten year contract knowing how long the CBA is set for?? Players signing those long contracts are just as guilty as the owners !! Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  2. loinstache - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I think Ovi made a really solid point about players signing ‘American’ contracts. Obviously there is always going to be NA skaters to keep a league alive. Yet if I was an upcoming European star, I would want to think twice about travelling around the world and completely adapting my life to a league that is interrupted so often. Something to think about as European leagues grow and start to hand out more and more lucrative contracts.

    • freneticgarfieldfan - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Except the KHL, European clubs pay only a fracture of the salaries in NA. Somewhere between 200 and 800k$ (estimated).

      • hockeyflow33 - Sep 4, 2012 at 7:24 PM

        And the Euro teams aren’t guaranteed contracts. Even the KHL has reports of not paying players

  3. freneticgarfieldfan - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    “You have to think of your future. You have to think of your family” – I understand that it get’s difficult to survive after a 20% cut from some 124 million. Like for most families outside the NHL. Whiner.
    As a side note, I have hope not every player has now the disire to go public with his CBA concerns. It gets somehow lame, even when the players hold a ~700 vs 30 advantage here.

    • ricky1057 - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      I am sure that Ovi has to be really concerned about his family with his bank account balance. These guys are so overpaid and spoiled that it makes me sick to even watch the game. I work for one of the most profitable companies in my industry and I am the one who should be really really concerned for my family with mt salary and not these whiny spoiled “pro athletes”

      • windmiller4 - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        If you don’t want to watch hockey anymore and your so concerned about your family and your salary than maybe your time could be better spent working to earn more money than commenting on a hockey forum.

      • tealwithit - Sep 4, 2012 at 5:29 PM

        Good lord. Try thinking before you comment next time, windmiller. I think it’s safe to assume that no matter how many minutes he spends working rather than “commenting on a hockey forum,” his salary will never come close to an NHL player’s.
        And what Ovechkin said is bordering on offensive. First of all, very few teams have an annual income equal to or greater than his. And is it really that unreasonable for these guys to live off of $3.2 million instead of $4 million? As a public figure, you have to consider your audience before you start throwing around statements like his. People who have to save up for months to afford hockey tickets probably don’t want to hear players saying they’ll abandon the NHL if they have to give up a fraction of their millions.

      • hockeyfan3 - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:25 AM

        tealwithit, your rght on! Don’t you feel sorry for these guys havng to live on only a few million $$ (owners and players). How about thinking of the fans and give us a break. The amout of money we have to pay for a ticket s nuts! Its almost better to stay home or hit a sports bar, you can see the game better, get a beer when you want it without missing anything, no long drive, a lot of positives. That said there is something about being at a game and feeling the energy but enough is enough. Come on guys make this work! Remember, no games, no fans no $$$$$

      • hockeyfan3 - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:43 PM

        I agree that the players had contracts and feel they should be honered. I guess I’m looking at it like this. Sometimes a buisness gets in trouble and needs to make cut backs or risk loosing the buisness. Sometimes the employees need to take cuts to help keep it alive. If this is the case I feel the players could help out and still survive on millions a year. The NHL also needs to take pay cuts also, not just the players. Lead by example right.

  4. ducksk - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Poor $ Ovie. He should stay in ruskie and eat potatoes. I would not miss him in NHL for minute.

    • windmiller4 - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      After that season he had last year i doubt too many people would miss him. Especially people like me that picked him in fantasy hockey -_-

  5. tfaltin - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Ovechkin made the mistake of making a comment regarding “his families money,” but if you remove that, his point is still valid. The owners signed these players to contracts they no longer want to pay, and they are using the CBA negotiations as a reset button. His second point is one I totally agree with. Why would the next generation of Malkin, Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Yakupov, and other exciting Russian forwards want to come to North America to play when a lockout could wash out a year of your career. Three lockouts is a trend now, and I don’t see it going away.

    • tru2joelu4eva - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      very well put.

      • bruinsean44 - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        who would have thought…Ovie the voice of reason. The owners are a disaster, if they can’t make money in their situations move the teams to areas where they can. Betman is the worst guy in NHL history, right up there w/ Eagleson.

      • tealwithit - Sep 4, 2012 at 5:32 PM

        If only it were that easy. There are 18 teams operating in the red right now… You think they can all just pick up and find a new city/arena with a ready-built hockey fan base?

    • tealwithit - Sep 4, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      What’s the quality of life like in Russia these days? (Honest question – I really don’t know.)
      I think ultimately it comes down to which league is stocked with the world’s best players, and that would have to include a lot of American and Canadian players. Great athletes usually want to play with and against the most talented guys in the sport. That’s what draws a lot of these guys to the NHL, and will probably continue to do so, unless they all abandon ship and head for Russia.

    • polegojim - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:38 AM

      They’re welcomed to stay in Russia… but they WON’T.

      They can make more money in 3-4 years in NHL between lockouts, than 10 years straight in KHL or similar…. and THEY KNOW IT!

  6. stakex - Sep 4, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    While he doesn’t say it directly, Ovi’s comments point to one clear winner if there is a lockout and a salary rollback…. the KHL.

    Think about it. The KHL is offering players more and more money… and the NHL is looking to cut players pay by as much as 20%. Its already becoming harder for the NHL to keep players from running off to Russia… and thats certainly not going to get better with a giant pay cut. After all these guys are professionals, and if someone is offering you a lot more money you would be an idiot not to take it.

    Now I don’t think Ovi is correct when he asserts that players currently under contract would leave the NHL if there is a lockout/pay cut. However players that need new contracts will certainly consider it, and the next generation of stars might well go where the money is… which might not be the NHL by the time they are ready to play.

    If I was running the KHL right now, I would do everything I can to make it more attractive to players, especially young players, to come play there. One thing I would do (not sure if they already do this) is make it so a rookie can get full pay. The NHL wants entry level deals to last FIVE years now… so think how many young stars would split to Russia if they could make the big bucks right away. Expect to see things like that if the NHL trys to screw the players too much, and it could hurt the NHL for years to come.

    • crackerjackjoe - Sep 4, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      And given the level of dysfunction with the NHL, I would happily follow the KHL if only I could get a regular feed and English commentary.

  7. travishenryskid - Sep 4, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Giant corporation making record profits and then downsizing it’s employees. Ain’t that America?

    • tealwithit - Sep 4, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Record revenue, not record profits. As revenue has risen, so have operating costs. And player salaries.

      • freneticgarfieldfan - Sep 4, 2012 at 6:12 PM

        player salaries grew actually overproportional: 1,4m to 2,4m (+71%).
        HRR grew 2,2b to 3,3b (+50%). just saying.

      • tealwithit - Sep 4, 2012 at 7:26 PM

        Which is why it confuses me that anyone would find it outrageous that the owners are now calling for salary cuts.

    • polegojim - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:40 AM

      @teal and frenetic – EXACTLY the point. Most who are trashing the players just don’t get the economics of a Capitalist society.

  8. malkinrulez - Sep 4, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Well said tfaltin!

  9. cuffhimbanano - Sep 4, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Like the NBA, the owners basically want the players to save them from themselves.
    And for those against the players, why? How many games do you go to to see an owner entertain you? Yet you want these guys to make even more?

  10. r3alta1k - Sep 4, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    what kills me is fans who blame players for getting paid there worth. Its amazing that you completely ignore that someone is paying them, which means that someone is making more money. No they are not over paid, no they shouldn’t make what you make, and yes they should gripe or complain about the money they deserve. If you do want sports players to earn high figures, STOP SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON SPORTS… Grow up, sacrifice, use your talent, to get the money you deserve but don’t be mad at others who have put themselves in position to earn their worth. R3alTa1k

  11. manchestermiracle - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    This ongoing dynamic, particularly between the NHL and KHL, is really healthy for the long haul. Russia becomes more capitalistic and the NHL gets a large dose of reality. Competition usually benefits the consumer in the long run. It’s waiting through crap like this pending lockout that makes it difficult to see the bigger picture. My life won’t end if there’s no season this year and neither will yours. But it still sucks the big one. Big time.

  12. ludacrish05 - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    I’d play for free….

  13. savior72 - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Really? This jerk is complaining about money?

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