The Washington Times - June 25, 2012, 07:22PM

With Brooks Laich and other NHL Players’ Association team representatives set to gather in Chicago for executive meetings, it was obviously a big deal when Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and other stars like Shea Weber and Jonathan Toews showed up.

Ovechkin didn’t have much to say about upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations, but his presence meant a lot.


““It’’s our future. It’’s important to us and for everybody,” Ovechkin told reporters as quoted by Adam Jahns, Blackhawks beat writer for the Chicago Sun-Times. ““Everybody has to be on the same page. Of course, it’’s going to be hard, but hopefully it’’s going to be done.” …

“It’s a negotiation and I think everybody has to be involved. It doesn’’t matter if you have a contract or not. It’’s the future for everybody.”

Ovechkin seemed to grasp the value of being at the NHLPA meetings, with CBA negotiations set to start in a more formal setting later this week.

“It doesn’’t matter if you’re the biggest star or just a star,” he said. “I think everybody has to be involved. It’’s our lives.”