Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette penned a somewhat delirious essay on the matter of how Alex Ovechkin could find himself in the bleu, blanc, et rouge next season. As these things go, it's a doozy. He doesn't mince words...
"...for the NHL to have a player like Ovechkin in a market like Washington is a crime. Night after night, Ovechkin plays to thousands of empty seats and in D.C., he always will."Well, DC does have its problems with crime, but the only one we've seen lately with respect to Ovechkin might be his turns on a Segway.
Ovechkin apparently inspires escapes from reality, or at least fact checking...to wit:
"This year, he's earning a mere $1.3 million."Nope...he's earning $3,834,000...below market, to be sure, but certainly not among the hockey working class.
"Ovechkin and Russian teammate Alexander Semin will be restricted free agents and Washington will be hard put to satisfy both..."Uh, nope again. Alexander Semin signed an extension. $9.2 million for two years, starting next season.
Even the logic seems a bit tortured...
"All it will take is, oh, $120 million over 15 years and a slew of first-round picks..."Earlier in the article, Todd makes the point that thoughts of an $8.7 million deal along the lines Sidney Crosby signed in Pittsburgh have given way (at least in the Ovechkin camp) to perhaps a $9-10 million/year deal. So why, then, would anyone think he's going to go below market ($8 million a year) to sign an offer sheet in Montreal? More to the point, if these are the terms -- less than that Crosbyesque deal, why would the Caps not match?
"If the Capitals are reasonably certain they're bound to lose Ovechkin, the Habs might be able to swing a multi-player deal, offering Washington any player on the roster not named Carey Price."
Again, earlier in the article, Todd compared Ovechkin to Rocket Richard -- he of the eight Stanley Cups, 544 goals, a Hart Trophy, and a place in the Hall of Fame...the kind of guy folks make movies about. Meanwhile, much as we love Carey Price, he hasn't done anything yet in the NHL, but maybe that's our reflexive fear of goaltenders with "Carey" in their name.
"In terms of sheer excitement, no one in the NHL is Ovechkin's equal."Caps fans will agree with that...but the league has it's money down on another player.
We've had New York, Detroit, The Hockey News, and now Montreal weighing in on "where -- as long as it's not Washington -- will Alex Ovechkin play next year?" First, it was annoying, but now it's getting to be something of a parlor game in the making...
Boston...a combination of Cam Neely, Phil Esposito, and Bobby Orr...and he should play in an original six town instead of that dump down the Eastern Seaboard...
Chicago...Bobby Hull?...Denis Savard?...Stan Mikita?...pfft...besides, he already looks good in red, and the Blackhawks are another original six team...they could use the boost...and they'd probably pay him now that Bill Wirtz has departed. Well, maybe not.
Philadelphia...He might not be a Broad Street Bully, but he'd be a Broad Street Banger who could score goals by the bushel. Philly sells out every night (well, a lot) ...his style would fit right in to the city's image. And he could rub the Caps' faces in it four times a year.
Pittsburgh...Crosby...Ovechkin...parades ensue, and Gary Bettman doubles his dry cleaning bill from soiling himself in jubilation.
Toronto...loves the town, the town loves him, and the population can spell "Ovechkin."
Ottawa...just because it's Canada, and it's not Washington.
Hey, try it yourself...we're sure just about every other town in the league will be doing it soon, too.
* We have to thank our good friends over on the Penguins' official for pointing out this article. And, we appreciate their heartfelt concern over the Caps' and Ovechkin's future.