Dynamo Suit Against Ovechkin Dismissed

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 19, 2006

Moscow Dynamo's lawsuit against Alex Ovechkin was dismissed yesterday by a U.S. District Court judge, effectively ending the club's bid to force the Washington Capitals' star rookie to return to Russia to play.

Dynamo sought to have the U.S. District Court in Washington enforce a Russian arbitration board's ruling that it, not the Capitals, owned Ovechkin's contractual rights for the 2005-06 season. But U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan decided his court "does not have . . . jurisdiction" to enforce the Russian arbitration board's ruling.

"We're pleased that the court has dismissed the case brought by this Russian team," Capitals General Manager George McPhee said in a statement. "We felt all along the suit had little merit and are not surprised that the judge agreed after a thorough review."

Ovechkin left Dynamo last April after helping it capture the Russian Super League championship and signed a contract with rival Avangard Omsk for the 2005-06 season. Ovechkin's contract with Omsk contained an "out" clause, allowing him to void the one-year deal and sign with the Capitals, who selected him first overall in the 2004 NHL entry draft. Dynamo later claimed it matched Omsk's offer, thus retaining his rights, but did not include any "out" clause.

"We are obviously disappointed in the result," Dynamo attorney William Sammons said. He did not rule out appealing the decision.

Ovechkin, who has emerged as a favorite to win the Calder Trophy, has 32 goals and 26 assists for the Capitals, who will be looking to win three games in a row for the first time this season tonight against the St. Louis Blues at MCI Center.

Not as Easy as It Looks

Capitals goaltender Olie Kolzig tried about a half dozen times during yesterday's practice to replicate the acrobatic goal scored by Ovechkin in Phoenix on Monday. Kolzig, lying flat on his back in full pads, managed to score only once.

"I show him how to do it," Ovechkin joked. "But he can't do it. He's a goalie."

Injury Report

Defenseman Jamie Heward, who left Monday's game in the second period because of a "lower body injury," will not play against the Blues. Defenseman Steve Eminger (ankle) and center Jeff Halpern (knee) are questionable, while left wing Matt Pettinger, who has missed four games because of an undisclosed injury, is set to return.

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