Alexander Ovechkin is returning to his former Russian team Dynamo Moscow during the NHL lockout and says staying with the club is a possibility.
The KHL team said in a statement Wednesday that it has signed the Washington Capitals star to a contract that lasts until the lockout ends. It said Ovechkin has undergone medical exams and has already participated in training. It did not disclose the financial terms of his contract.
“As to the future, it will depend on what kind of conditions there will be in the NHL with the new CBA," Ovechkin told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. "If our contracts get slashed, I will have to think whether to return there or not. I won’t rule out staying in the KHL, even past this season.”
However, the five-time NHL All-Star could face some consequences if he were to stay in the KHL:
- The move would be a breach of his contract with the Capitals, which runs through the 2020-21 season.
- It would also violate the NHL and KHL's agreement to honour players' contracts in their respective leagues, resulting in possible sanctions from the IIHF.
Ovechkin joined the Capitals in 2005 and was the NHL's MVP in 2008 and 2009.
He is the latest Russian star to return home during the lockout. Evgeny Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins has signed a deal with his former team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk. He was joined by fellow Penguin Sergei Gonchar, and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Spezza to Switzerland
Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza has signed on with Rapperswil-Jona for the duration of the NHL lockout, joining fellow Canadians Logan Couture (Geneva-Servette) and Rick Nash and Joe Thornton (HC Davos) in the Swiss A League.
Spezza is coming off a strong season with the Sens, where he scored 34 goals and 84 points in 80 games.
The 29-year-old spent the 2004-05 lockout in the American Hockey League — winning the MVP award — and indicated last week that he'd talked to a number of players who went to Europe during that lost season.
"A lot of guys went over last time and played and enjoyed it," said Spezza. "And I think that message has kind of trickled down."
The NHL lockout entered its fourth day on Wednesday with no formal meetings scheduled between the league and the players' union.