In his first comments to local media this season, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin quickly put the kibosh on rumors emanating from Russia that he might be lured back home to play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
“The answer is I’m here, I have a contract,” Ovechkin said. “It was very enjoyable to hear president of Dynamo and GM wants me to sign, be honest with you, I love Dynamo, it’s my first team and I play [there] when it was lockout. But I have a contract. I have to play here and I respect my teammates, my fans, and all that kind of stuff. That’s about it.”
Dynamo's general director, Andrey Safranov, recently said that the team had interest in attempting to coax Ovechkin back to Russia, leaving behind the eight years and $79 million left on his Capitals contract. Former New Jersey Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk did that this summer, shocking the hockey world by retiring from the NHL with 12 years and $77 million left on his deal to play with SKA St. Petersburg.
“I respect every player. They have their own life. He decided to go back and I respect his decision," Ovechkin said of Kovalchuk. "If somebody says I’m going back or I’m not going back I still going to respect your decision if it’s not stupid. I think it’s not stupid. He explained why. You can say bad things about him or good things about him. The pressure is on him because he’s Russian, that’s why. Why are some American guys go to the KHL and after like two months they say, ‘Okay I want to cancel my contract and go back.’ Why nobody put pressure on them? It’s a different situation, of course [Kovalchuk] is a bigger player than somebody else. Of course somebody is not happy about it, but that’s life.”
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