The Continuing Saga of Alex Ovechkin and the KHL

You can take a boy out of Dixie, but you can’t take ol’ Dixie out of the boy.

And so, Alex Ovechkin’s continuing long-distance relationship with the NHL (specifically, the Palpatine-esque bureaucratic legislature of it) took another right turn on the way to Tainted Town. With the NHLPA’s counter offer snuffed out by Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, et al, the current star of Moscow Dynamo and onetime star of the Washington Capitals let loose on what he felt was a less than genuine initial offer from the powers that be.

“The NHL gave fans and media hope,” he said, according to “But, in reality, it is a deception. The league is trying to show that it is working to try and save the season, but they are not offering anything new. It’s all the same.

“Owners and players are at war… Bettman is under heavy pressure and trying to protect himself from criticism. Yes, he made and offer and said it was good. But, good for who, for Bettman?”

Recently, NHL stars have been saying the name Bettman with as much respect as Republicans refer to O-Bama.

But, for the NHLPA, guys like Ovi are the ones they need to align with. They need to keep them under their wings and let them fly. Yes, he’s in Russia. That’s exactly why he’s important.

Say what you will about the NHL’s offer last week – which proposed, among other things, a 50/50 split in league revenue – but it was designed to cater to an increasingly agitated and eventually disaffected continent of hockey fans. It was meant to show them, “Hey. We are your owners. We’re still here. We’re still fighting.”

Meanwhile, the players are silently fleeing the country like they’re trying to get out of Cuba in The Godfather: Part II

They’re trying to win this war – as Ovechkin called it – through social media and once-in-a-while statements.

Hey, guys. We like you.

You just need to work a little harder. Lucky for you, Ovi’s trying. (Anyone in North America, please?)