As the Capitals players representative for the NHLPA, Brooks Laich has no problem taking a stand for something in which he believes.
Perhaps thats why Laich was so happy to hear Alex Ovechkin tell reporters that he would consider staying in Russia if it meant taking another salary reduction in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NHL.
I back Ovies comments and when I first read them I really liked them, Laich said Thursday after a skate-around at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. There are other opportunities for players to play. I dont know if these owners realize it, but it is a reality.
On Wednesday, after signing a contract to play for Dynamo Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League, Ovechkin said, If our contracts get slashed, I will have to think whether to return to the NHL or not. I wont rule out staying in the KHL, even past this season.
Penguins star Evgeni Malkin and former Capitals defenseman Sergei Gonchar have also signed contracts to play in the KHL during the NHL lockout, which entered its fifth day on Thursday. At last count 33 NHL players had signed with European teams, with more expected in the coming days.
The more players you start to see head overseas there are a lot of guys you speak to that really enjoy playing over there, Laich said. I think a lot of guys really, really want to play in the NHL. Obviously, thats the top league in the world. But if were facing a work stoppage once every six years, in the life span of an athlete thats a lot of time missed and a lot of potential earning that are missed.
For some guys its not as much pressure to play in Europe and maybe some guys enjoy that, where theyre not so much in the limelight. You can see different parts of the world. You see different parts of North America playing in the NHL, but now you get a more worldly experience going to other countries.
There are other benefits, Laich continued. Maybe the finances arent as great, but maybe it makes up for it with job security. Its a lighter schedule on guys and maybe they can prolong their careers by paying less games. There are a lot of things to think about.