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Ovechkin would have to negotiate out of current deal to head to KHL

Apr 11, 2014, 10:45 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 7: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on February 7, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ilya Kovalchuk shocked the hockey world last summer when he retired from the NHL and signed with SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL the following week. Would Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin be next?

From TSN:

On Thursday’s edition of Insider Trading on the NHL on TSN, (Pierre LeBrun) reported that there were whispers out of the KHL that one of the clubs may try to approach Ovechkin like they did with Ilya Kovalchuk a year ago.

There’s certainly an argument about whether Ovechkin can lead the Capitals to playoff success, although there’s no denying that losing him to the KHL would be a huge loss to Washington and the NHL.

Ovechkin, who after this season will still have seven years left on a $124 million deal with Washington, according to, will likely be the only 50-goal scorer in the league this season. He hit the mark for the fifth time in his career on Tuesday.

“Per the terms of our memorandum of understanding with the NHL as it relates to respecting player contracts, Ovechkin would only be free to join a KHL club if he negotiates his way out of his existing contract with the Washington club,” said Medvedev in the statement, according to TSN.

“Should that situation come to pass, I have no doubt there are KHL clubs who would have interest in his services.”

  1. capsrockva - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    One for sure Ovi never should’ve been named Captain. What the Caps players did be voting him as that was wrong. Brooks or Jason should’ve been named as that role. Hell, he wasn’t even named as Capt in the Olympics this year. Why I don’t know, but that is why my beloved Caps are sitting at home watching the action

    • joey4id - Apr 12, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      Never should have been captain indeed. However, he was appointed not by the players, but by management. Yet another mistake of GMGM.

      “Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin took the ice for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens wearing the captain’s ‘C’ on his sweater, introducing him to the Verizon Center fans as the 14th captain in club history. Vice president and general manager George McPhee and head coach Bruce Boudreau made the selection and Boudreau informed his team of the decision this morning.” – Tuesday, 01.05.2010 / 6:30 PM

  2. stunzeed5 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    Ovie isn’t going ANYWHERE. Let’s go CAPS #HTTR

    • blomfeld - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:15 AM


      • joey4id - Apr 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM

        We really won’t…. but I get the irony.

  3. mpg44 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Bye…. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  4. lowenni - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    This was one of the worst articles I’ve ever seen posted on ESPN or by LeBrun. It essentially states that IF Ovechkin and the Capitals for some reason agreed to terminate his contract (despite his being loved by the city, his immense personal and financial success with the Caps, and support of the Capitals), then KHL teams would be interested. OBVIOUSLY KHL teams, along with NHL teams, would be interested in the world’s best goal scorer if he was without a contract all of a sudden. But there has been not a single indication from Ovechkin of wanting to return to Russia to play hockey. This was total rumor-making by LeBrun and a horrible excuse for sports reporting. Ovechkin is not planning on bolting to the KHL anytime soon, and I’m not planning on ever reading one of LeBrun’s articles again.

    Also, PHT, I like what you guys do a lot and enjoy being able to get up-to-date hockey news every hour, but leave this bull**it off of here.

    • lowenni - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:57 PM

      And this was the stupid ESPN article by LeBrun to which I was referring:

      • bilbono - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:26 PM

        Yup, ESPN is in the business of reality TV now, not professional sports journalism. And they act like hockey doesn’t even exist in this country. Therefore, thank you NBC Sports.

    • c9castine - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:46 PM

      yeah i totally agree man. of course KHL clubs would love to have ovechkin and im sure they floated the idea at him many many times before.

      until i hear alex ovechkin say “i want to play in the KHL” or he actually goes there, i dont believe a word of it.

      as much as i am not really a fan of his, i take him at his word when he says he plays in the NHL for a reason, and thats where he wants to be. he doesnt seem like a quitter to me, and if he says he wants to win a stanley cup, no matter how misguided his efforts may be, i believe he will keep trying till he gets too old.

      i hate articles like this in sports. meant to generate clicks and web page visits and attention toward the source, bothing more. which is a shame coming from a guy like LeBrun who has a great reputation as a reporter.

    • stixzidinia - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:45 AM

      He loves Russia more than Washington. Far more. And some billionaire oligarch would beat whatever the Caps are paying him. Could you really say you’d be surprised if Ovie chose to bolt for the KHL? Please. I agree this article is 100% speculative, but Ovie is a one dimensional player if ever there was one and the KHL fits his style of play far more than the NHL. The media love fest over Ovie is long since over and if anything they;re out to tear him down. If he went to the KHL all hat pressure and scrutiny would instantly be lifted.

      I predict he’ll be in the KHL within 3 seasons tops. And there isn’t anything the NHL could do about it. Russia just illegally annexed Crimea despite NATO/US/EU warnings and sanctions. You think a hockey player going home is going to raise any kind of stink? Nope.

      • kaptaanamerica - Apr 12, 2014 at 7:35 AM

        Why are you bringing your politics into this? What the USA, EU, Russian governments do has nothing to do with hockey. Go post on some political website with your political opinions.

    • govtminion - Apr 12, 2014 at 2:37 AM

      It’s ludicrous, for sure, but I’ve heard enough voices around the DC area the past couple of weeks asking if Ovechkin might leave for Russia that an article detailing the process that would have to go through to happen is actually kind of handy- it shows how absurd the idea is, at the very least.

      He’s not leaving for Russia, he’s probably not leaving DC (for better or for worse). This just illustrates the reasons for that.

    • joey4id - Apr 12, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      Loved by the city? Where is it written that the city loves him? If you tell us the Caps’ fan love him, then that is a different argument.

      June 26, 2012
      Washingtonian readers vote Alex Ovechkin worst local athlete

      Grant it, I doubt he’s the worst athlete, but this vote does nothing to justify your claim that is he loved by the city.

      • lowenni - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        I live in Washington. He gets his criticisms here too but for a while the Nationals, Wizards, and Redskins were all awful while the Caps and Ovechkin in particular were great. If you go to a Caps game here 85% of the jerseys are of Ovechkin. Here’s another article which states:

        Ovechkin has clearly become Washington’s No. 1 sports star — ahead of the Redskins’ Clinton Portis (who seemed to spend all of last season grumbling about one thing or another) and the Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas (who hasn’t played all season because of a knee injury). (

        I don’t know whatsup about that Washingtonian article you found, joey, but Ovechkin is the one who made hockey relevant in this area. The growth of the sport has increased many times over since he and the Young Guns have been relevant, and that’s a fact.

      • joey4id - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        I suspect the article you are referring stems from august 2009…. Arenas was traded to Orlando in 2010.

        The article I referenced was in 2012.

        “Some locals have started pointing fingers at the Russian sniper. Ovechkin was voted Worst Local Athlete this summer in a reader poll conducted by the Washingtonian. A senior editor for the magazine, Denise Wills, admits to being taken aback by the results of the poll, whose methodology was never revealed. The result seems especially odd given that Ovi was deemed the city’s Local Hero in the same poll just last year — and that he’s still, you know, very, very good. Ovechkin is taking the backlash in stride. “Of course the fans want us to win the Cup. We want to win it for them and for us,” he says from Russia, where he is playing his lockout hockey with Dynamo Moscow. “But we’ve found that it takes a mixture of things to win, and we need to find the right mixture.”

  5. penzfan329 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    Could you do better lowenni?

    • lowenni - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      Yes, I could. I could write literally anything on hockey and it would be more credible than this. If the article had been from some random blog online, that’s one thing, but for a major hockey-media figure like LeBrun to write this s**t just makes me pissed off. It’s the epitome of why people hate the media.

      • tomas3345 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:02 AM

        so i heard that the khl would be interested in sidney crosby. “Per the terms of our memorandum of understanding with the NHL as it relates to respecting player contracts, Crosby would only be free to join a KHL club if he negotiates his way out of his existing contract with the Pittsburgh club,”

  6. credible316 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    OK, so I’m confused ,which doesn’t take much, but how come Ovi couldn’t “retire” and then go to the KHL like Kovy? Is there something specific in Ovi’s contract stating so?

    • lionstigersandwingsohmy - Apr 12, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      Because NJ wanted out of that contract and gave their blessing.

      • barkar942 - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        “Ilya Kovalchuk shocked the hockey world last summer when he retired from the NHL and signed with SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL the following week.”
        Gee, let’s see. The Devils were about to become financially insolvent while Vanderbeek was defaulting right and left on loans. The NHL was about a week away from having to absorb the Devils, not weeks after they were finally able to unload the Coyotes. Financial suitor after suitor had talked with the NHL about buying the Devils and basically all said the same thing. Won’t buy them with that 80 Million albatross contract hanging over their heads. The NHL then figured out if Kovy “retires”, then the team would be cleared of that albatross, and Josh Harris would buy the team. Why else would the NHL be rescinding the drafting penalty imposed on the Devils over the whole Kovy contract, because they feel sorry for the team now that Kovy has left? I don’t think so. It was agreed to when all this went down by the orders of the NHL brass last year as a payback. Kovy’s responses to questions at the Olympics of how he felt about playing in the KHL were not exactly the rousing approval one would expect from someone who wanted to leave the NHL.
        I will just about guarantee that Kovy will be back in the NHL after his “can’t resign with another team for two years after retiring” rule expires.

  7. hockeyflow33 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Breaking News**** My beer league team will try and negotiate with Ovechkin. It’s rumored that this unnamed team needs scoring and no one else in the league plays defense.

  8. pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    It wouldn’t surprise me if either him or Malkin finish their careers in the KHL.

    • claudegirwho - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      Malkins not going anywhere he knows this is the best league in the world and wants to compete at the highest level

      • stixzidinia - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:50 AM

        Really? Did he tell you that? You have no idea what Malkin wants or doesn’t want.

    • handsofsweed - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:08 AM

      If “Malkin finishing his career in the KHL” means “from age 42-46,” then you may be on to something. If not, then you are lost in the wilderness of bull$hit.

      • pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:30 AM

        I’m saying like 38-42. Anything is possible 10-12 years from now. Do I want him to leave the Pens? No I don’t. I hope he finishes his whole career here.

    • killerpgh - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      I wouldn’t be shocked either if Malkin finishes his career over in the KHL. Even before this new 8 year, 76 million dollar contract that kicks in next season is complete. I thought that as soon as I saw the way the deal was structured. Even salary (9.5 million) every year all the way through the deal. So there would be now salary cap recapture penalty for the Penguins if he didn’t finish out his contract. And the first 6 years he doesn’t have a signing bonus, but the last 2 season season he does. That just struck me as weird. He Russian. If he wants to go home and play hockey (while making more money) I don’t think it will shock to many people. He already accomplished just about everything he can in the NHL – Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, Hart, Art Ross, Ted Lindsay and the Calder. Add in that fact that he did already break a legal contract once to join the Penguins. Will it suck if Malkin leaves while down the road while still playing at a high level? Yes. But I would understand and still be a fan of his and be thankful for watching his skill set during his time prime in a Pittsburgh sweater.

  9. muckleflugga - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    if you haven’t heard a rumour about alex ovechkin by noon, start one yourself

  10. slaugin - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    I don’t know much about The KHLs talent level. Could their top team be a middle of the pack NHL team? Or would they be more like the Panthers?

  11. slaugin - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    With that question take out Kovi for all intents and purposes since him being on a team alone prob makes them better than Buf, Fla, Edm, and maybe NYI, WPG, CAL

  12. stakex - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    A pointless story if there ever was one, and a sad excuse for “reporting” from both TSN and Pro Hockey Talk. When there is no news to report…. just pull some out of your ass.

  13. joey4id - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    KHL??? You heard here first.

    joey4id – Apr 3, 2014 at 3:49 PM
    Trade him. buy him out., send him to KHL….. just get him off your payroll…… or here’s an idea for Ovi, CHANGE! Start working hard to improve your d and become a true team player worthy of the C.

    It’s time to accept the fact that Ovi is not part of the solution. This team has seen coaches come and go with no success. The common denominator is 8. Too much money given for the wrong reasons to the wrong guy. There was a time when Ovi’s name was part of the conversation when discussions were about the #1 and #2 players of the league. That time is gone. He’s not been able to lead the Caps to anything of significance and has failed at the international level. His brand is damaged beyond repair. Ovi “Madoff” has been revealed for what he is. A fraud!

  14. muckleflugga - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    rarely do you see a player of so little consequence or worth draw so much negative attention as does alex ovechkin … fodder for journalist bloated on hype and dining on fantasy

    lebrun and cherry among others, throw out eighteen variables then get all puffed-up and smug when they make a lucky hit …

    there was a time when journalists reported news, but in a world fixated on lifestyle over substance, it’s become their self-appointed job to manufacture news … too much dead air and commercial space to fill, wot

    hockey is polluted with gossip merchants

    ovechkin’s scored fifty one goals in seventy seven games as opposed to crosby’s thirty six in seventy nine games … eight less than crosby and malkin combined

    clearly more bang for the buck playing on a team that like oilers, appears to lack a consistent and coherent attack or defensive system

    why would anyone in washington let the one player bringing fans into their building, and otherwise empty barns around the league, let him slip away …?

    the knives are out for ovechkin and the pack starts baying, smelling blood

    wait until the penguins tank yet again –they’re simply not good enough to beat hard skating disciplined hockey teams and bruins and canadiens and wings are just that

    the bloodletting will be messy … bring in the dogs to clean up … after-which questions will be asked in pittsburgh about heart and courage … an annual ritual it would seem

    say what you will about him, ovechkin will still lead all players in goals even as the stanley cup is being paraded

    through the streets of sverdlovsk in july

    • blomfeld - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      friend … about the only thing which will be parading through the streets of Sverdlovsk in July are forward ‘shock’ units of the elite Red October Division, Army Group Blomfeld ! :)

  15. slysipops - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    OBAMA has a pen….and because of that ,OVI aint going anywhere ! BIDEN is going over there to tell them so !

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