Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin was interviewed after a skate with some of his teammates, and he didn’t hold back. The Washington Post composed all of his comments into this post. A summary of Ovechkin’s opinion would be “Alexander Ovechkin is unhappy.”
To me, the biggest issue for the NHL going forward will be the KHL. More than any other sport in America, hockey is an international game, with players from all over the world, fed from leagues in Europe and the aforementioned KHL. There is a competitive market for NHL players, and suspending play and reducing salaries will end up damaging the league and weakening the on ice product. Ovechkin shares some of those opinions.
Do you think players would leave the NHL and play elsewhere for the rest of their careers?
Yeah. Why not?
Would you do that? If they cut back salaries, 15-20 percent?
I’m going to think about it, but I hope not. It’s something that the league wants to do it for all the players. [Sidney] Crosby just signed, [Ryan] Suter, [Shea] Weber just signed huge deals and they want to cut 24 percent for nothing? I don’t think it’s fair enough.
I think this opinion from the premier non-North American talent in the league should get the attention of Gary Bettman and the owners. Of course, when some Russian billionaires start waiving cash around and players start leaving, that wll definitely catch their attention.