- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2006

A U.S. District Court judge dismissed a suit brought against the Washington Capitals by Alex Ovechkin’s former team, Moscow Dynamo, which claimed the player was bound contractually to the Russian Super League team.

Dynamo claimed it still owned the rights to Ovechkin’s services because of an arbitrator’s ruling in Russia after the left wing exercised an “out clause” in his contract and signed with Washington. The Dynamo suit covered only this season.

The Dynamo organization effectively schooled Ovechkin in the sport for years, but he played out his option with the Moscow team after the 2004-05 season and signed with Avangard Omsk, another Super League team. Dynamo said it matched the Omsk offer, giving it his rights back. The court disagreed.

“We’re pleased that the court has dismissed the case,” Caps general manager George McPhee said. “We felt all along that the suit had little merit and are not surprised that the judge agreed.”

Five get tested

Five Capitals yesterday gave urine samples to representatives of the International Olympic Committee to be tested for banned substances in preparation for the Winter Games next month in Italy.

Olie Kolzig (Germany), Ivan Majesky (Slovakia) and Ovechkin (Russia) are members of their nations’ teams. Also to be tested are possible alternates Jeff Halpern (United States) and Brent Johnson (Canada).

The NHL also has started testing for banned substances in accordance with the new collective bargaining agreement but has not tested the Caps yet. Each team will be subjected to two random tests between now and the end of the season with first-time offenders suspended for 20 days.

Injured returning?

The list of wounded grew by one to five, but that figure might be down to just two by game time tonight.

Defensemen Steve Eminger and Jamie Heward do not appear likely for the St. Louis game, both with lower body ailments. Eminger tried to skate as practice started but quickly departed.

Center Jeff Halpern and left wing Matt Pettinger, both with lower body injuries, were back on the ice and participated in the whole practice. Pettinger is expected to play, but Halpern is not a certainty.

The latest addition was right wing Matt Bradley, who limped off — that’s right, with a lower body injury — about 10 minutes after the drills started. He said he will play tonight.

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