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Gonchar thinks some Russian stars might not return to NHL

Oct 12, 2012, 5:22 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals and Sergei Gonchar #55 of the Pittsburgh Penguins shake hands after Pittsburgh's 6-2 victory in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center May 13, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) * Local Caption * Sergei Gonchar;Alex Ovechkin
(May 13, 2009 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Sergei Gonchar will play for the Ottawa Senators when this lockout ends. As for his fellow Russian-born players, he’s not so sure. He thinks some of them might end up staying in the KHL, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

“If the guys feel like it’s not fair what’s on the table, they might ask [NHLPA executive director] Don [Fehr] to put something in the new CBA to allow them to stay back home,” Gonchar said. “I mean, why not? We don’t know where it’s going with that new CBA. Everything is possible. That’s why I think there is a chance that a guy like Alex might stay back home.”

Gonchar is of course referring to Alex Ovechkin, who has already threatened to stay in the KHL if his NHL salary gets cut.

Ovechkin would be leaving a lot of money on the table if he did that. He’s completed just four seasons out of his 13-year, $124 million contract with the Washington Capitals.

It’s also worth noting that the KHL and NHL have agreed to respect both leagues’ contracts and KHL vice-president Ilya Kochevrin recently insisted that the KHL would continue to honor.

At the end of the day, as LeBrun speculated, this might just be a tactic that the players are using to put pressure on the NHL to make a deal.

Still, Gonchar feels that the KHL has improved and once his current contract with the Ottawa Senators expires this summer, he won’t completely dismiss the possibility of heading back to the KHL at the age of 39.

  1. lostpuppysyndrome - Oct 12, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    At this rate, nobody’s gonna return to the NHL.

  2. stakex - Oct 12, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Alex Ovechkin will be a Capital the second the lockout ends. Its that simple. This is just a negotiation ploy by the players to make it seem like the NHL might lose some star power if the players don’t get what they want. Its a smart play actually, but theres nothing to it.

    • r4n6er - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      You really think there is nothing to an easy way back to your home country?

      • theawesomersfranchise - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM

        Chances the owners agree to some provision that allows players to remain playing in the KHL.
        Less than Zero

        Literally insane to suggest would ever happen

  3. bleed4philly - Oct 12, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Hope Bryzgalov is one of them.

  4. martysbetter - Oct 12, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    I wouldn’t blame them one bit, the NHL is a joke.

  5. cspsrbums - Oct 12, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    I don’t think it’s a ploy the NHL sucks anymore I would consider staying at home Instead of dealing with Bettman and his goons every few years

  6. savior72 - Oct 12, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Hey, if you think the KHL is better for you, good luck with that. Wouldn’t bother me at all if it was just a North American league.

  7. pastabelly - Oct 12, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Gonchar should retire or go to the KHL. He’s been a liability for a while now.

  8. dhillca - Oct 12, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Anyone know the salary for elite players in the KHL?

    • valoisvipers - Oct 14, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      Yes, 65% of their NHL contract.

  9. cloudniner9 - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Really can’t blame them if they do, if I was in their shoes I would threaten to stay there too

  10. bcjim - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:01 PM


  11. ducksk - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Please please stay in ruskie ovie. I never liked u and your selfishness showboating. Your very good not great. You and the rest please stay. Plenty of young great talent will quickly fill your lockers. Stop the BS. You will be back in a heartbeat to play in N America, best fans
    And greatest $. Ovie = douchbag.

  12. bubblehead22 - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    It won’t happen because they can’t make the same $$ but it would be the karma the NHL deserves if some big names didn’t return Russian or otherwise.

  13. somekat - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    If I were an NHL owner, any player that decided to stay in the KHL instead of honoring their NHL contract, would be black listed for life

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      Right, because the NHL owners, after all, are working so hard to honor those bloated contracts they offered. Right?

  14. manchestermiracle - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    The average worker in Russia makes $8,000 to $10,000 a year ( Minimum aggregate salary in the KHL is $6,500,000 (Wikipedia).

  15. irokkit - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Of I were a Russian, Swede, if I were Finish, Croatian, or even a Yuggie-O, I would do the same thing. I would go home to play for fun. These top players…they already got paid. Betman and his power trip is taken its course. It worked. In the past. But every thing that is good, changes. This strong arm course is now a crash course!!
    Boy is Betman and his group messing things up!!!!

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