Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Ovechkin: "I signed no contract with Dynamo"

Someone's got a stamp that I can borrow
Alex Ovechkin (in blue) playing for Dynamo against Spartak last season

The basis of Moscow Dynamo's claim for the rights to Alexander Ovechkin seems to be built upon an arbitration decision this past summer in Russia in their favor, granting them the rights to Ovechkin over Avangard Omsk while Ovechkin was still a free agent. Dynamo is now suing Ovechkin, and not the Washington Capitals, trying to force Ovechkin to return to play for Dynamo.

In a discussion that appeared on Sport Express, Ovechkin emphasized the fact that he had never actually signed a deal with Dynamo, that Dynamo had only matched an offer from Avangard in order to keep Omsk from signing him as a free agent, which is when Ovechkin then came over to play with the Capitals:

"When I left for overseas, I did not have a contract with Dynamo. I had an agreement in place with Omsk, but they let me go without a problem. I had signed absolutely nothing with Dynamo, and Dynamo never even conducted negotiations with me. My last contract with Dynamo had elapsed at the end of the past season, and since then I, and I will repeat, I signed nothing and conducted no negotiations."

When asked about Dynamo's chances to win a trial in the U.S., Ovechkin responded:

"What chances are there, when they do not have my signature? My signature exists only in Omsk. But, Avangard cannot have any claims, because in that contract it is clearly stated: I had until July 21 to sign an agreement with Washington, and then I could go quietly to the NHL, which is what I did. In Omsk they let me go and wished me well."

When asked about Dynamo's motivations for the trial, Ovechkin had this to say:

"I think they want to obtain some compensation for me. If Russia had participated in the agreement between the NHL and IIHF, compensation would've been a possibility. Now, though, it is difficult for me to say that Dynamo has rights for something.

"I do not want to imagine if Dynamo's contract was recognized as legal. Certainly there is a saying, never say never, but I do not think I will return to Russia. Personally, at least, I want to play in the NHL."