Capitals' Free-Agent Sergei Fedorov's Future Remains Unclear

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By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sergei Fedorov's future with the Washington Capitals remained as unclear as ever yesterday, hours after a published report in Russia said the veteran was close to signing a contract in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Fedorov's agent, Pat Brisson, said he has had preliminary discussions with the Capitals about a contract extension, but also acknowledged that it's possible his 39-year-old client will sign with another NHL team or leave the league altogether. Fedorov becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

On Monday night, Sport-Express of Moscow reported that Fedorov had agreed to sign with the KHL's Metallurg Magnitogorsk. The deal, according to the report, is for $3.8 million per season over two seasons.

Brisson stopped short of dismissing the Sport-Express report, but said Fedorov has assured him that he has not agreed to a contract with any team. Fedorov, however, is scheduled to return to his homeland later this week, and while there, expects to speak to a number of teams, Brisson said.

In the meantime, Brisson said he'll continue to pursue an extension with the Capitals, though he has not had any direct negotiations with General Manager George McPhee.

"Sergei has a lot of options in the KHL, but we'll still continue to talk to the Washington Capitals," Brisson said by phone from his Los Angeles office. "I'm not sure right now whether Sergei will play for the Capitals or in Russia. He doesn't want to put a timetable on his decision, but he's probably going to make up his mind soon."

The Capitals are interested in retaining Fedorov, who is a mentor to young Russians Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. But given his age (he turns 40 in December) and decline in production (he had 33 points in an injury-plagued regular season), it's believed the team is only interested in re-signing him to a one-year contract for considerably less than the $4 million he earned last season.

Assistant Will Not Return

Jay Leach will not return to the Capitals next season after serving for five years as an assistant coach, McPhee said yesterday. Leach coached the defensemen.

"It was a mutual decision," McPhee said. "He's a good man and a good coach and he helped us get to where we are."

Coach Bruce Boudreau's other two assistants, Dean Evason and Dave Prior, will return next season, McPhee said. Boudreau inherited Leach, Evason and Prior when he took over in November 2007.

A replacement for Leach has not been named, though it's likely the coach will come from outside of the Washington organization, McPhee said.

Alzner May Miss Finals

Prospect Karl Alzner has been sidelined for two weeks with a concussion and it's unclear whether he'll play when the minor league Hershey Bears make their third appearance in four years in the Calder Cup finals beginning Saturday in Winnipeg.

Alzner, 20, was injured in Game 4 of the second round and has not been on the ice with his teammates since. It's the first documented concussion of his career.

"You never know with concussions," McPhee said when asked whether the defenseman could return in the finals. "It's possible. But in our minds, there is no such thing as a minor head injury. Whether it takes three days or three months, we're going to take our time with this."

Alzner, the fifth overall pick in 2007, appeared in 30 games for the Capitals and is expected to play full-time in Washington next season.

Kozlov Headed to Russia?

McPhee said he could not confirm a report on French-language television network RDS that Viktor Kozlov has signed with Salavat of the KHL. Kozlov will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and has received several offers to return to his native Russia. . . .

Undrafted free agent Jake Hauswirth signed a three-year, entry-level deal. Hauswirth, 21, is listed at 6 feet 5, 210 pounds and scored at least one goal in each scrimmage during last summer's development camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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