- Israel poised for a $173M boost from the U.S. for missile defense
- Leon Panetta named as source of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ scriptwriter’s information
- Mandela service sign language interpreter: ‘He made up his own signs’
- Pope Francis named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’
- Ben Affleck: Fundraising for Democrats started to ‘feel gross’
- Vladimir Putin orders military to boost presence in Arctic
- Brooklyn, N.Y.: ‘Lesbian capital’ of the Northeast
- Elian Gonzalez: It’s America’s fault that my mother died
- India top court rules homosexuality is illegal
- Aaron Hernandez, ex-Patriot, on prison life: ‘I’m way less stressed in jail’
Alex Ovechkin prepared to go to Russia if there’s an NHL lockout
Caps star says the players won’t give up
“Of course I think about it because my hometown have teams and my Russian Federation have a league. Of course I’m probably going to be there. But I don’t want to be there; I want to be here,” Ovechkin said in a conversation with beat reporters Tuesday. “But, again, my contract is here and I hope the NHL and NHLPA are going to sign a deal before the 15th.”
The NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement expires at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 15, and a lockout is looming unless owners and the Players' Association can get a deal done. With no talks planned for this week, a work stoppage is looking increasingly likely.
And while some have shrugged off what a lockout could mean, focusing energy on hockey and getting ready, Ovechkin is involved and has strong opinions on the issues.
“If it’s going to be lockout, there’s going be lockout. We’re ready for that,” Ovechkin said. “If [we were] not ready we’d probably sign that kind of paper [offer] what they give us. But we’re ready and we’re not going to give up.”
One of the concerns from former players like Caps associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig about the 2004-05 lockout was that the NHLPA didn’t have a Plan B when owners didn’t budge on demands.
Ovechkin, Backstrom (and last week ex-Caps now New York Rangers forward Jeff Halpern) expressed confidence in NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and a steadfast belief that players want what’s good for hockey.
The owners’ first offer reportedly included cutting the players’ share of hockey-related revenue from 57 percent to 43-46 percent, depending on the definition of that money. In essence, it could mean players league-wide taking a significant cut in salaries.
“I think it’s not fair for us. They still make money, they still sell tickets and they have money,” Ovechkin said. “Why [do] they sign us long-term deals and that kind of money to after that when the CBA’s going to be done, they want to cut our salary? Why they want to cut it to 24? Why don’t they want to cut a hundred percent of salary?”
Obviously, because the players are the product and the NHL cannot survive without them.
“If they need us, how I say, if they’re going to cut percentage of the contract and years, I don’t think lots of guys who signed American deals are going to come back and play here,” Ovechkin said. “It’s not reasonable to be here. You have to think of the future, you have to think of your family.”
Ovechkin, who like Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin, could potentially get a deal in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. Asked if guys would consider playing in another league if NHL owners cut players’ salaries by 15 or 20 percent, Ovechkin said, “Yeah, why not.” But would he?
“Well, I’m going to think about it, but I hope not. It’s something the league wants to do it for all the players,” he said. “[Sidney] Crosby just signed, Suter, Weber just signed huge deals and they want to cut 24 percent for nothing? I don’t think it’s fair enough.”
Beyond players, any lockout would have an impact on team employees, arena staffers and, obviously, ticket-buying fans. Players largely understand it’s about more than just them.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Teen thugs in DC run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- New budget accord saves $23 billion -- after $65 billion spending spree
- More than a quarter million sign up for Obamacare in November
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- Gov't Motors: Obama fudges math on auto bailout, $10.5 billion loss for taxpayers
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Helping the YOUniverse conspire on your behalf.
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow