The NHL’s latest proposal didn’t go over well with Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin, who has once again threatened to stay in the KHL if player salaries are significantly slashed in a new collective bargaining agreement.
Following Dynamo Moscow’s 4-1 win on Saturday, Ovechkin told SovSport’s Dmitry Ponomarenko, later translated by Peter Hassett, that he will explore ways to get out of his current NHL deal if there are major rollbacks in the new CBA.
“If my contract will be cut down greatly, it would be possible to annul it through the court,” Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin, who was one of the first NHL players to sign overseas when the lockout began Sept. 15, was critical of the NHL’s latest offer and believes the two sides are still far from reaching an agreement.
“If we speak in Russian, the NHL provided a beautiful dream to the media and fans, but in reality it’s a lie,” he said. “It’s showboating. The league is trying to show that they are kind of working, trying to save the season, but they offer nothing new. It’s all the same, just in different words.
“If NHL bosses keep making us such ‘profitable’ offers, (the lockout) will last for a long time. We’re far from a compromise.”
The latest round of CBA negotiations ended on a sour note Thursday after the NHL rejected three counterproposals made by the NHLPA.
“I don’t think (the) lockout will end soon,” Ovechkin said. “Bettman decided to throw the dust in our eyes because media isn’t talking about him very well lately. But actually the offer they gave is the same one, just in other words. A great person (Donald Fehr) is the head of the union with great experience. He’ll break it down, explain to us, and we’ll make the decision.
“There are a lot of nuances, a lot of hidden rocks. And all of them are in the league’s favour. Why in the world should our salaries be cut down? They say: let’s shorten the contracts to five years, then take 24 per cent back. And what will be left? You offered that salary and now you take it back? That’s why there’s a lockout.”
It’s not the first time Ovechkin has threatened to remain in Russia. The Russian winger, who has five goals and seven assists in 12 KHL games this season, first said he would consider leaving the NHL in early September, and then again on a conference call with the Washington Times and the Washington Post after signing a one-year contract with Dynamo Moscow on Sept. 19.