Another day, another report that Alex Ovechkin wants to return home to play in the KHL.
This one, published in Russia on Thursday on the website Sportbox.ru, quotes Moscow Dynamo president Arkady Rotenberg as saying Oveckin could be on his way home someday. "We have the desire to do it and he does too," Rotenberg said.
But don't start setting aside your rubles for a No. 8 Dynamo jersey just yet. In context, Rotenberg's full reply sounds more like, "Yeah, we'd love to have him but that contract that pays him $10 million per year until 2021 is kind of a problem."
Here's how it went down:
Sportbox.ru: KHL president Alexander Medvedev said it is possible Ovechkin will return from the NHL. Is that true?
Arkady Rotenberg: Yes, of course, but he is famous in the NHL, he’s a star. People go to see Ovechkin, they wear Ovechkin jerseys. He’s not just a great athlete in the NHL. He fills the cash registers, he makes them money. That’s why it’s hard to get him out of there. But in theory, yes, it’s possible. We have the desire to do it and he does too. When will it happen? I don’t want to spoil anything. Let him just play [in Washington] for now. He has a contract that is so strict it is almost impossible to escape. Everything has to be challenged and there’s no need to do that now. Let’s wait."
You know who's having fun with this? Ovechkin. The easiest thing in the world would be to put an end to all the speculation by pledging his allegiance to the Capitals for the duration of his current deal. But I think he likes playing both sides here, that he wants to look like the loyal son of Russia and keep hope alive that he'll bring his talents back home one of these days. His prerogative, of course. You'd just like to think that $10 million would buy enough loyalty to put the rumors to rest once and for all.
(Stick tap to Slava Malamud)