Will Alex Ovechkin celebrate his 27th birthday today by signing acontract to play in the Kontinental Hockey League?Before leaving for his hometown of Moscowon Sept. 8 Ovechkin said he would play in the KHL if the NHL could not come toa labor agreement with its players.On the first day of the NHL lockout on Sunday, Pittsburgh Penguins star EvgeniMalkin and former Caps defenseman Sergei Gonchar signed with Metallurg of theKHL. Dynamo Moscowgeneral manager Andrei Safronov said earlier this month that he would try tosign Ovechkin in the event of an NHL work stoppage and a Twitter report today by @dchesnokov said Ovechkin could sign a contract with Dynamo as early as today. According to a Russianwebsite, Ovechkin was also seen over the weekend at the practice facility of CSKA,which is managed by his former Caps teammate Sergei Fedorov.KHL rules allow teams to sign NHL players for up to 65 percent of their NHLsalaries. That means Ovechkin could make as much as 6 million if he plays anentire season in the KHL.KHL teams are permitted to carry five non-Russian players. During the lastNHL lockout in 2004-05, 78 NHL players played in the KHL, including PatrikElias, Dany Heatley and Vincent Lecavalier.The 2004-05 NHL lockout forced Ovechkin to spend that season with DynamoMoscow, where he recorded 13 goals and 13 assists in 37 games. He was 19 at thetime and also represented Russiain the World Cup, the World Junior Championships and the World Championshipsthat season.That was the last time Ovechkin celebrated his birthday in his nativecountry.I was a teenager then, Ovechkin told the Capitals website. Im gettingolder now. I have more friends than I did then. But youre not going to see mybirthday on YouTube and Im not going to be hiring the Black-Eyed Peas. Itsgoing to be me, my family, my friends and my dogs. Just some barbecue and avery chill day.Unless, of course, Ovechkin becomes the next NHL star to sign with a KHL team.
How will Ovie spend his 27th birthday?
September 17, 2012, 1:38 pm