Alex Ovechkin Leaves For Russia, Or Is He Going Home?

On Wednesday, Alex Ovechkin signed with Moscow Dynamo of the Kontinental Hockey League. But, that’s not all he did.

“I said it before, before I sign a contract, if the league decides to cut our salaries and cut our contracts for that they want, I don’t know how many guys will be coming back,” he said to the Washington Post and Washington Times. “We signed contracts before so why do they have to cut our salaries and our contracts right now? They signed us, (they) want to cut it. I think it’s a stupid idea and a stupid decision by the NHL, Bettman and the guys who work there.”

I urge you to exercise caution in your reaction with these one. Half of you will call him an O.G. The other half will call him Krushchev. (And, really, wasn’t Krushchev an Original Gangster, too?)

You can call him a traitor. TSN’s Southpark impersonator Jason Botchford called him a “dud”. (Like, oh no! Not Jason Botchford! How will Alex go on?!)

But, really, isn’t Ovechkin just being realistic? Isn’t he being pragmatic, like he always is?

Ovechkin has never wanted anything more than to win. He’s tried everything with Washington. He’s tried scoring less, he’s tried playing defense, and he’s tried to become a North American as much as any Russian in the NHL.

He never had the advantage that someone like Gabriel Landeskog – the Swede who played his junior hockey in Kitchener, Ontario – has.

Ovechkin arrived in 2005 as a pre-established villain to Canada’s wonderboy, Sidney Crosby. He had to earn his stripes. He doesn’t have a Cup yet, but it’s not from a lack of commitment, or a lack of want.

Alex Ovechkin is a gamer, and he wants nothing more than to return to the NHL and win a Stanley Cup.

But, he’s not an idiot. He’s not foolish. And now, he’s had enough.

“If it’s going to be the same situation, I think it’s going to be all year because we’re not going to give up,” he said to a Russian news agency.

“If our contracts get slashed, I will have to think whether to return (to the NHL) or not. I won’t rule out staying in the KHL, even past this season.”

God forbid, the NHL may actually have some competition. Then, it might actually operate like a real business.