The KHL team said in a statement Wednesday that it has signed the Washington Capitals star to a contract that lasts until the lockout ends. It said Ovechkin has undergone medical exams and has already participated in training. It did not disclose the financial terms of his contract.
“As to the future, it will depend on what kind of conditions there will be in the NHL with the new CBA," Ovechkin told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. "If our contracts get slashed, I will have to think whether to return there or not. I won’t rule out staying in the KHL, even past this season.”
However, the five-time NHL All-Star could face some consequences if he were to stay in the KHL:
- The move would be a breach of his contract with the Capitals, which runs through the 2020-21 season.
- It would also violate the NHL and KHL's agreement to honour players' contracts in their respective leagues, resulting in possible sanctions from the IIHF.
Ovechkin joined the Capitals in 2005 and was the NHL's MVP in 2008 and 2009.
He is the latest Russian star to return home during the lockout. Evgeny Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins has signed a deal with his former team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk. He was joined by fellow Penguin Sergei Gonchar, and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Spezza to Switzerland
Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza has signed on with Rapperswil-Jona for the duration of the NHL lockout, joining fellow Canadians Logan Couture (Geneva-Servette) and Rick Nash and Joe Thornton (HC Davos) in the Swiss A League.
Spezza is coming off a strong season with the Sens, where he scored 34 goals and 84 points in 80 games.
The 29-year-old spent the 2004-05 lockout in the American Hockey League — winning the MVP award — and indicated last week that he'd talked to a number of players who went to Europe during that lost season.
"A lot of guys went over last time and played and enjoyed it," said Spezza. "And I think that message has kind of trickled down."
The NHL lockout entered its fourth day on Wednesday with no formal meetings scheduled between the league and the players' union.
...Don't blame Ovie, the numerous other Russians, and NHL European players in general. Guy left his home nation of Russia to come play here in NA for the Cup, and being a top talent, he's now been in 2 lockouts - the first being the year he was drafted in; talk about a bad impression! If changes occur to contracts and Ovie left because of them, I wouldn't mind one bit even though it would mean he dishonours his contract, like how Radulov did....If I was in his feet, I would be fed up too.
2 lockouts in less than 10 seasons, that's just horrible. The international guys come here, sacrifice their life back home to play in the 'best league in the world' - family and friends plus a whole lot more - and get this. It's not acceptable at all. I'd like to see how our NA guys would feel if they would play somewhere out in Europe and have political and economic issues pop up all the time with the league they play in - yea, not so good.
It's nice to see Spezza enjoyed his time down there - and it seems like others are liking it too/thinking about going since Spez said the message is trickling down to others. ...NHL, get your stuff together...this time, you're going to lose a lot more than just a season; a number of star players sounds about right this time around, and it's going to impact many franchises with their revenues, ex: Ovie = Caps fans and many of their season tickets being sold, and so on...