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Following Ovechkin’s lead: Semin talks about staying in Russia after lockout

Oct 31, 2012, 7:30 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin Getty Images

You may recall Alex Ovechkin talking big about possibly staying in the KHL after the lockout if the owners roll back the players’ salaries. His former Capitals teammate, Alexander Semin, is now making a similar threat.

Semin tells R-sport.ru out of Russia he would consider staying in the KHL if things don’t break right when a new CBA is signed.

“I’ll look at what contract they actually sign. I like it here overall,” he said.

Semin’s thoughts are similar to that of not only Ovechkin but Ilya Kovalchuk as well, who intimated he would stay in Russia if the next CBA doesn’t come out working well for the NHLPA. Sergei Gonchar also said many Russians might not return as well.

The KHL and NHL have an understanding that they’re not to sign players away from each other’s leagues who are currently under a contract. In Ovechkin and Kovalchuk’s cases, those are long-term deals worth over $100 million each. For Semin, if he wanted to go back to Russia he would have to burn off his one-year deal with Carolina before returning to his home country.

If these players are serious about their threats, they should have good lawyers on retainer to help them escape.

Related: Ask a lawyer: Could Ovechkin and/or Kovalchuk legally get out of their NHL deals? 

  1. bruinpred - Oct 31, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    The NHL is tough hockey. If you could live in your home country, figure skate a few times a week, and make millions tax free…why not? Ask Radulov. The guys I would hate the league to lose are Datsyk amd Malkin.

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Oct 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM

      I agree with you bruinpred mainly because Datsyuk and Malkin seem to be the most team oriented, and humble of all the russian elite players.

      I’m torn though because when there are fewer skilled players my willingness to spend $50 dollars on a ticket to an NHL game goes down. I could just as simply spend $15 to $20 and watch an AHL game.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love open ice hits and tight games. But I want to see players do things that only the elite of the elite could pull off. It’s tough enough seeing goalies puff themselfs up like the stay puff marsh mellow man in 2012 when technology is good enough to protect them and still have the padding be practical.

      The NHL should have the best skill from all around the world. Ovechkin, Kovy and Semin fall into that mix too.

    • thehook57 - Nov 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      I agree. Malkin and Datsyuk are the exceptions. Most of them are jerks. The NHL made them millionaires and now they trash it. The problem with most of the Russians is that after they get a big contract they get lazy. Two come to mind but there are many others – Semin and Kovalev. Both have/had tremendous talent but are not willing to work. When Kovalev came up I thought he would set the league on fire. He did until he got big money and then quit. Semin is the same. Why do you think Hunter benched Ovechkin during the playoffs. Lazy!! And Hunter had the guts to call him on it.

  2. lroc20 - Oct 31, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Semin will not be missed. As for the other guys it would suck for the fans but I cant blame them as long as Bettman is around

  3. capsfan19 - Oct 31, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Honestly if anyone is willing to let these guys go then ur morons.
    Thats what makes hockey cool is that it’s players from around the world.
    No offense but russian skaters seem to have a different approach to the game that american and canadian skaters dont have.
    Im not saying one is better than the other but it does bring a certain allure to the game.

  4. 89seminole - Oct 31, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    If you think you’re bigger than the game, then stay in Russia. The next superstar is around the corner anyway.

  5. ducksk - Oct 31, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Amen. I said it before never trust a ruskie! There are hundreds of young guns coming up that will make us forget them fast. Plenty of North American talent to fill the league. I’ve always been sick of all the hype of the Russians…to hel with them.

  6. 8man - Oct 31, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    It’s where they both belong.

  7. manchestermiracle - Oct 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    If you signed a contract and the terms aren’t honored it isn’t too difficult to have it nullified. That said, I’m amazed at the level of xenophobia in the comments I’m seeing. These are high-quality players and not having them in the NHL is not good for the league.

  8. hockeyflow33 - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    No lawyers necessary, that’s a headache for the KHL, not the players.

    • manchestermiracle - Nov 1, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      The contracts to which I was referring are of the NHL variety for those players not wanting to return.

      • hockeyflow33 - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        Right, I understand. Giving up on their NHL contracts basically means they aren’t coming back over here and therefore would not be held to any court/arbitrator decision; the KHL however, would be bound by IIHF penalties for not holding up their current agreement with the NHL

  9. mpg44 - Nov 1, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    Way to support your “union” it’s supposed to be about the best deal for your “union ”
    Not just you. I guess it’s not about preserving the game and rights of future and present players and it really is about money and themselves.

  10. pastabelly - Nov 1, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Semin would hardly be missed. He’s not one of those players that you make a special trip to the building to see.

  11. rockthered1286 - Nov 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Wow, people are pretty harsh on these type of comments…

    Here’s the thing: how can you blame them? Forget their scale and how much they get paid. Insert your job into the context of the issue. If you’re making $70K per year and you are secure in your job, then your boss comes to you and says “about that, we can honor your $70K for a few more years, but then you’ll be dropping off substantially,” how would you react? Clearly you wouldn’t be happy knowing you’ve busted your ass and earned your paycheck, only to hear management thinks they deserve more, and in turn, you have to take a drastic cut. Their threats are not because they love Russia or hate America or the NHL like many seem to think. Their threats are merely their way of saying “WE make this game what it is. WE put asses in seats. WE want our contracts to be honored.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that train of thought, and I for one hope that Bettman gets off his high horse and realizes it’s the right thing to do before it’s too late.

    Pay the men who make the game what it is or else you’ll end up with the AHL and the AHL+.

  12. babykaby - Nov 6, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Hate to tell you guys, but it was mainly Ovechkin, and to some degree Semin, who filled those seats at the Verizon Center in D.C. Ovechkin is the guy that brought huge interest to hockey in the area, thereby earning tons of money for Leonsis and the NHL. Hate the Russians if you like, but they play great hockey and add a lot to the game. Hate Ovechkin if you like, but give him his credit, he’s done one hell of a lot for the league. Of course I realize Canadians will never acknowledge this with their well-known russian prejudice.

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