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Author: Igor Larin (Sport Express Newspaper)
Translated By: Alexei Belousenko
Date: 07/11/2005
Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals): The only case in which I would go to Washington right now is if Dynamo wins the Arbitration Court hearing.

Two separate reports associated with Alexander Ovechkin came up on the same day. The first one is that the RSL (Russian Super League)’s arbitration court hearing of Ovechkin’s case regarding the conflict between Dynamo Moscow and Avangard Omsk will take place likely on July 20 in Moscow. The second rumor came from New York: NHL and NHLPA agreed on the possible five time increase of the contracts for the number one of the NHL draft picks. This means that the basic maximum annual contract for rookies, which is 850 thousand dollars, would still be the same. The exception would ony hold to the number one overall pick of the annual NHL draft. Supposedly the first draft pick (Ovechkin 2004/1) would be able to include some special bonuses in his contract. Accordingly, his payroll may reach the amount of 4.5 million dollars a year. Igor Larin (correspondent of Russian newspaper Sport Express) made a phone call to 19-year-old Alexander Ovechkin, who is currently on vacation in Cyprus, in order to clarify the situation.

Alexander, I have some breaking news for you! According to the new clause of the collective agreement between the NHL and NHLPA, the rookies who were selected first overall would be able to sign up for the special bonuses in their contracts. For example, S. Crosby, the most probable number one draft pick of this year, due to various bonuses may earn up to 4.5 millions dollars.
A. Ovechkin:
Good news. However, to be honest with you, I don’t think about the NHL at all right now. My first priority is to clear up the situation regarding my next team in the Russian Super League. I’m waiting for the Arbitration Court’s decision.

Which club would you like to win the hearing?
A. Ovechkin:
Avangard Omsk. My heart is already in Omsk. Due to several reasons which I’ve already talked about before, I want to play in Avangard.

A few days ago, one of the Sport Express articles was named: “What’s the reason to fight for Ovechkin, if the lockout will end soon?” So, now I have to ask you: how it’s going to make any difference who’d win the Arbitration Court hearing, if you go to the NHL anyway?
A. Ovechkin:
Most likely I can predict: if the court would accept my contract with Avangard, than I would stay in the Super League for another season. However, if the court would decide that I have to stay in Dynamo, than, perhaps, I would pack my stuff quickly and go to the NHL.

Possibly, in the beginning your NHL career your American salary wouldn’t be as high as Russian salary. So, are you ready for this?
A. Ovechkin:
First of all, the news that you told me about first draft numbers let me hope that I would lose nothing. And second of all, the money-question isn’t the top priority at my age.

Which team does have the most chances to obtain you: Dynamo, Avangard, or Washington?
A. Ovechkin:
The situation is changing very fast. Personally, I set a goal for myself to play for Avangard. I think that my wish will be realized. So, the NHL would have to wait a little bit.

What are your near future plans?
A. Ovechkin:
On July 13th my vacation will end, and I’ll come back to Moscow. Then, after a couple of days I’m planning to attend Avangard’s training camp. To look into the further future, as you see, I can’t.

Written by: Igor Larin (Sport Express)
Translated by: Alexei Belousenko (www.RussianProspects.com)

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