Alex Ovechkin was one of 40 players who took the ice Monday for the Capitals’ first practice of training camp under new head coach Peter Laviolette.
After the on-ice session concluded, the Caps captain spoke to the media and was asked about a possible new contract. Ovechkin is in the final year of a 13-year, $124 contract that he originally signed on January 10, 2008, and the Capitals have been clear they want Ovi to end his career in DC.
During his conversation with the media, Ovi did not seem worried about getting a new deal done but was less open about the subject than previous Russian language interviews he conducted over the offseason.
Ovechkin was first asked if he had begun negotiations with Capitals’ general manager Brian MacLellan.
“It’s our first day so I didn’t see him obviously,” Ovechkin said. “But we have plenty of time.
“I don’t think we are in a rush,” he added. “We understand everything that’s happening right now so whatever is done is done. We’re going to talk and see.”
While back home in Moscow, Ovechkin declared that he would sign a “two… three… four… five-year” extension and finish his NHL career in Washington, “god willing.” His plan would be then to retire from hockey with his former Russian team, Dynamo Moscow.
When asked about those quotes by NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, Ovechkin looked over his shoulder to one of the team’s PR spokesman and then responded carefully and quietly.
“I think for me, the most important thing is just to play the game right now. Of course, it’s one year,” Ovechkin said. “I’ve been in this position 13 years ago, right, after I sign a deal and worry about this stuff. Right now I’m 35. I understand everything and kind of an experienced guy. Of course, you’re going to think about it when you’re closer but right now we’re in training camp. The most important thing is to go back on the ice, get your body moving, feel the game, and after that, we will talk.”
Ovechkin will negotiate the contract by himself and serve as his own agent, unlike his 13-year extension which was handled by his mother Tatyana.
“We want Alex coming back,” MacLellan said before Christmas. “We said all along we’d talk at the beginning of the year and hopefully, we get a chance to do that during camp.”
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