"If the Islanders can throw 15 years at Rick DiPietro and the Flyers are willing to give Mike Richards a dozen, why not a 15-year deal for Ovechkin? Is there a player in the league, apart from Crosby, as likely to make such a deal pay?...Is it worth it? Put it this way: If Lecavalier is the reincarnation of Jean Béliveau, then Ovechkin is the Rocket. No one in the league plays the game with such fire, such joyous abandon. Ovechkin is the real thing, the bona fide, superstar sniper the Canadiens have not had in nearly a quarter-century, since Guy Lafleur hung 'em up. All it will take is, oh, $120 million over 15 years and a slew of first-round picks."
"Is Ovechkin worth $124 million over 13 years? Is anyone?...even with his deeds of derring-do, the sad sack Capitals are tied for 27th in a 30-team league, and quite probably doomed to miss the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season...as of Thursday, Ovechkin may have just consigned himself to being the most commanding one-man show since Henry Fonda as Darrow."
The latter, from an article written in the Vancouver Sun, was lambasted by Ted Leonsis. The irritation appears well placed.
There are two arguments made in that latter article that seem especially ill-fitting. The first concerns the quote, "Is Ovechkin worth $124 million over 13 years? Is anyone?"
Well, yes. By definition, that's true, by whatever definition of "market" one wants to use. Leonsis and the rest of the club deemed that number was what it would take to secure Alex's services for the next 13 years -- he accepted it. End of discussion; he's "worth it" to someone (and, I suspect, to a lot of fans long before this contract expires).
Second, there is the inevitable lament that Washington is the shack at the end of the dirt road of hockey -- hopeless and clueless about winning a championship. Ovechkin has, so the argument goes, chained himself to a loser for the next decade or more.
Well, gee, I haven't seen any championships in Pittsburgh since Sidney Crosby came into the league, either, and they remain a flawed team to boot, despite their current winning ways. Because of the manner in which the league has pursued an "all-the-eggs-in-one-basket" strategy by making Crosby the be-all and end-all of hockey, that Crosby-centric theme works only if Crosby wins...will we be seeing these same laments in a few years, that he toiled in a city that couldn't win, should the Penguins fail to win a Cup and the end of his contract is in sight?
And more to the point, when that contract does come up, as Leonsis put it in the context of Ovechkin (but replacing Alex with Sidney), "does anyone really believe that in five years - as a free agent - that a player such as [Sidney] wouldn't receive an offer for $10 million per year as an unrestricted free agent? What does this writer think the salary cap number will be in five years? In 10 years?"
If that scenario unfolds, Canada might be beckoning, especially if Pittsburgh hasn't won anything.
The Montreal Gazette article opined that $120 million and "a slew of first round picks" would be a good deal for the Canadiens. Ted spent about that much, gets to keep the picks (no small consideration, given the strategy of team-building the Caps are trying to employ), and that's a bad deal.
Guess only when the city involved is Washington.