Yashin Knows Best
Alexei Yashin and his hobby, ping pong (Photo: SportGuide.ru)
Despite James Mirtle's hilarious assertion to the contrary, Alexei Yashin seems to have a number of suitors for his services, though God only knows why.
The main item that seems to be driving all of the Yashin rumors lately is a Detroit News column from this past weekend. The article casually floats the names of several forwards that the Wings might be interested in, saying of Yashin, "The key is price. The Wings don't want to pay him more than $4 million."
Interestingly enough, if the Wings or any other team were to pay Yashin $4 million, I'm pretty sure that amount plus the installments the Islanders are paying him would just about equal his pre-buyout salary.
Mark Gandler, Yashin's agent, isn't spilling the beans; earlier today, he told Soviet Sport (careful with those racy photo ads, now), "All the rumors you have read about Yashin in the press are absolutely not true. There are only two people who can talk about the specifics of this situation: Yashin, and myself. We have not made any statements. I can only say now that we have some proposals we are discussing. I can also say that we are negotiating only with NHL teams right now."
Yashin, while not revealing his hand completely, is being a bit more forthright, judging by these answers that he gave in an interview that was posted today by Sport Express:
"It's not in the interests of myself or my agent to comment on this right now. However, since the Russian fans are interested in my situation, I will answer some questions briefly.
"I will say this: there are a large number of teams interested in my services. Detroit is certainly one of them. Until a contract is signed, though, I can give no details.
Not all of the teams are NHL clubs; a couple of interesting proposals, if not more, have come from Russian teams. There is interest from Germany, and from other Western European teams as well.
"The claim that I do not want to play for any Canadian teams (because of his holdout in Ottawa) is incorrect information. I do not have a problem in my relationship with any Canadian teams."
Ovechkin to start training in St. Petersburg
Meanwhile, allhockey.ru passes along word that Alexander Ovechkin will begin training for the upcoming season in St. Petersburg, Russia-- "along with (Sergei) Gonchar, (Evgeni) Malkin, and (Victor) Kozlov," Ovechkin is quoted as saying.
When asked if he has yet to begin negotiations with the Capitals on a new contract, Ovechkin avoided the question by laughing and saying, "That's a small secret."