Alex Ovechkin sounded off about the NHL lockout and labor negotiations Wednesday, but he also spoke about his decision to sign with his KHL alma mater Dynamo Moscow.
The Capitals’ star left wing signed a one-year deal with Dynamo Moscow Wednesday that is believed to be worth around $6 million, after plenty of speculation whether he would return to his former team in the weeks leading up to his signing.
“My preference was to stay in North America. That’s what I did. I came early to negotiate with NHLPA and get ready for year,” Ovechkin said during a conference call with The Washington Post and Washington Times Wednesday. “After when I talk to [NHLPA Executive Director] Don [Fehr] and everybody said it’s probably going to be lockout. So I decided to come here a little bit early for one week, skate on bigger ice and decide what my future is.”
Ovechkin will make his 2012 KHL debut Thursday against Dynamo Minsk. He will wear No. 32 for Dynamo Moscow.
“I decided to sign with Dynamo and I’m pretty happy, pretty excited,” Ovechkin said. “It’s no secret our job is in NHL and right now we don’t have a job. So we just decide to come play in KHL [in] Russia.”
As has been previously reported, Ovechkin also talked with CSKA Moscow, where his friend and former Capitals teammate Sergei Fedorov is general manager. So how did he ultimately land back with Dynamo?
“First it was CSKA, and then Dynamo said they were not interested in me. Then after I talk to CSKA, Dynamo came and talked to us [Tuesday] night and we decide to come back to my home team, the place where I grew up,” Ovechkin said. “I play for the fans as well. It’s always nice to come back to where you’ve grown up, where you was a little kid and you know right now lots of people are pretty happy and pretty excited that they’re gonna see me back in Dynamo jersey.”