Multiple times during the lockout, Capitals star left wing Alex Ovechkin suggested that he might not return to the NHL if the new collective bargaining agreement resulted in the reduction of his existing contract. He said players might not return before the lockout began, reinforced that sentiment days after it went into effect and reiterated it at every turn.
Many have questioned the motives behind Ovechkin’s statements, wondering whether it was a threat designed as an attempt to influence negotiations or if the Capitals captain was truly contemplating walking out on the remaining nine years of his NHL contract.
For the first time since the stoppage began there seems to be some clarity. Ovechkin backed off his aforementioned stance during an interview with Igor Fain of Russia’s VM Daily and said he intends to return to the NHL once the lockout ends. (s/t Japers’ Rink)
Given the limitations of Google Translate, here’s an excerpt of a more nuanced translation of Ovechkin’s interview from Alex Ovetjkin, where you can check out his full comments.
So once the lockout will be over, will you return to the NHL as soon as possible?
Certainly. I am very comfortable in Moscow, Russia in general, but my soul is across the ocean, in the NHL, with Washington Capitals, with whom I still hope to win the Stanley Cup.
Alas, every week, even every day and hour, the hope that the NHL lockout will be solved, is decreasing.
• Over the weekend, Ovechkin recorded his first hat trick of the season in Dynamo Moscow’s 4-2 win over Donbass Donetsk.
• Owners and players will meet Tuesday in New York without NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr present.