Alex Ovechkin skating with Dynamo in 2010. (Photo credit: Sport-Express)
Over the weekend, it was widely reported that Alex Ovechkin‘s former Russian Super League team, Dynamo Moscow, would try to sign the Capitals captain if the NHL enters into a lockout on September 15th. According to rsport.ru, Dynamo general manager Andrei Safronov said to the press, “[Leafs' forward Leo] Komarov (who played on the team last year) will come. We will talk with Ovechkin. It will be up to the head coach.” And headlines across Russia and North America followed.
Well apparently, not everyone in Dynamo’s front office are as open to Ovechkin returning — even for a potential asking price of $3 million (plus insurance). In an extended meeting with the press on Sunday, president Arkady Rotenberg distanced himself from Safronov’s earlier comments.
“If we really need [Ovi], maybe we will offer the money,” Rotenberg told R-Sport. “But I don’t think we need him. I even talked to his mom. She called because she didn’t understand my quote in an article. She said,’Does he need to play for Dynamo for free and you’ll put that money into the hockey school?’”
“We won’t fight and outbid other teams to get [NHL] players,” Rotenberg continued. “We’re better off using the money on our kids, because they’re the future. If we pay for Ovechkin and show him off, everybody will be like ‘Wow, Dynamo. Ovechkin signed.’ So what?”
Rotenberg, a billionaire businessman with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is also concerned about his team’s chemistry. After winning the league championship the year before with a team made up of hard workers but few stars, Rotenberg was leery of upsetting the dynamic in the locker room and taking roster spots away from players who would definitely be with the team all year. Plus, with only 5 available spots open on each KHL team for “foreigners,” Dynamo is already at their limit.
When asked if it would be painful to see one of its most famous alumnus and an advisor to the team potentially signing with a rival club such as CSKA who employs former Capital teammate Sergei Fedorov as their general manager, Rotenberg did not change his stance.
“I’m actually against it. And I don’t see any prestige in it,” Rotenberg replied. “I think that Ovechkin isn’t necessary.”
Fedorov, who has already told the press that his dream-line would be Ovechkin with Alexander Semin and Pavel Datsyuk, may very well get a chance to make it happen.
Translation by Fedor Fedin.