(This is from my blog at www.ihjjr.com
Ovechkin made an appearance today at Kettler Ice Plex with Backstrom, Orlov, Johansson, Ribeiro and a few other players to take part in some on ice practice. Ovie showed up with a shaved head, citing that he did in homage for his 700 or so 'brothers' who are about to make war with the NHL and its owners. He sent Twitter into a firestorm Saturday night when he posted a photo of himself.
“I’m one of the soldiers on the NHLPA", Ovechkin said of his new haircut.
Ovie also talked to Washington Post reporter Katie Carerra and had A LOT to say about the CBA negotiations and his distaste for the bullying he feels from the owners.
"I think it’s not fair for us. They still make money, they still sell tickets, they have money. Why they sign us to long-term deals and that kind of money to after that when the CBA is done they want to cut our salary? Why they want to cut 24 [percent]? Why don’t they want to cut 100 percent our salary?
I don’t think we’re close enough to make a deal. It’s all about the owners and the Bettman."
When asked about his plans if there is a lockout, Ovie didn't hesitate to say that he would play elsewhere, most likely Russia, and that most other players are feeling the same.
"Of course I’m thinking about it because my hometown has teams and my Russian federation have a league. Of course I’m probably going to be there. But I don’t want to be there, I want to be here. My contract is here, I hope NHL and NHLPA gonna sign a deal before the 15th.
If they need us, how I say, if they going to cut a percentage of the contract and years, I don’t think lots of guys who signed American deals are going to come back and play here. It’s not reasonable to be here. You have to think of the future, you have to think of your family."
The owners can't be happy with Ovie's comments. He's the first player to really step out and talk about what is going on and have an opinion about it. I'm wondering if 'The Bettman' will fine Ovechkin at all as the commissioner made it clear a couple months ago that any player who talks about the proceedings will be fined by the league - heavily.
The current CBA will expire in exactly 10 days and there is no sign of stopping the lockout from happening. The owners have schedule a meeting with the NHL Board of Governors for September 13 in New York to vote for the approval to officially lock the players out on the 15th.
- In related news, the AHL is in talks with NBCSports about televising games in lieu of an NHL lockout. I'd love to see the Hershey Bears on national television. I'd even buy a jersey from China.
- The Colorado Avalanche have named Gabriel Landeskog the youngest team captain in NHL history today. At 19 years and 297 days he is 10 days younger than Sydney Crosby was in 2007 when he was named the Pittsburg Penguins captain. The move came when veteran Milan Hejduk informed the organization that he would relinquish the role. Hejduk and Paul Stasny will serve as alternates. Landeskog won the Calder Trophy last season as Rookie of the Year scoring 22 goals and 30 assists in all 82 games played. He was drafted 2nd overall in the 2011 NHL Draft and will become the 11th captain in Avalache/Nordiques history.
- Roberto Luongo has made it official that he would like to be traded to the Florida Panthers. Luongo's name was a hot topic at the draft this year and many thought he would have been traded by now. The Panthers are interest of course, but not at the expense of its talent pool. The Panthers already have three goaltenders who did remarkably well last season in Jose Theodore, rookie Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmenson. Luongo, who became a star with Florida said,
"[The Panthers] makes sense for myself, for my career and my family. That being said, there's obvious other options as well. This is a preferred location for obvious reasons, but I'm not shutting the door on other possibilities if it comes up."
- Sunday marked the 40th anniversary of the Summit Series between Canada and the U.S.S.R. The 8 game series was won by Team Canada which was made up of Canadian NHL stars of the time. The Russians were technically "amateurs" but had been dominating International Ice Hockey. In the height of the Cold War, the Canadians came out underestimating their opponant. The Russians took a 3 games to 1 lead until the Canadians rallied back to win the last three games in Moscow. The series forever changed the game of hockey and opened the eyes of hockey fans to Soviet dominance at the international stage. 40 years later, the 'Greatest Series Ever Played' is remember fondly from all who played. It was a great win for hockey everywhere and will never duplicated mainly because of the social and political differences of the time.
"Both teams won in 1972," Vladislav Tretiak, now the president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, told TSN this summer. "It was a great series for all of hockey. The best that Russia had and the best of the NHL. The winner was the game of hockey."
- Shane Doan's future is still in limbo. If he cannot get a deal reached with the Phoenix Coyotes by the expiration of the CBA on September 15th, he could sign elsewhere. Vancouver is chomping at the bit to sign Doan and Buffalo made a 4 year, $30M offer to Doan. The New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburg Penguins are also in the mix, but doubtful they'd go any higher than $24M for 4 years.
- Last week, ESPN, of all places, named the Montreal Canadiens uniform the best in sports out of 122 North American major-league-teams, coming ahead of the Chicago Bears, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Boston Bruins. The Canadiens are the second most decorated team in North American sports history with 24 Stanley Cup Championships.
-The CBA is the big thing on everyone's mind. Until that is completed, there won't be any substantial moves. If there is a lockout, which is getting to be the vibe now, the NHL will be shooting itself in the foot and this time the fans won't be so obliged to patch it up.