Teammates support Ovechkin signing

Teammates support Ovechkin signing
September 19, 2012, 5:14 pm
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They wont come right out and say it because, well, they're not permitted to do so.But its a safe bet Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, generalmanager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates are not embracing the idea oftheir captain, Alex Ovechkin, playing for Dynamo Moscow of the KontinentalHockey League.Do they want their 27-year-old franchise player to stay inshape? Yes. Do they want him to skate? Yes. Do they want to see him throwinghis body all over the ice and risking injury?Of course not.But if you ask Ovechkins teammates how they feel about theircaptain playing overseas, they overwhelmingly support it.I do, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said afterparticipating in an hour-long skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. If he wantsto play there thats perfect. Thats his hometown and his home team, so thatsperfect.Backstrom returned to the Washington area two weeks ago and is hopefulthe Swedish Elite League drops its provision of signing NHL players to one-yearcontracts that do not allow players to return to the NHL in the event of a laboragreement.I think theyre keeping us locked out, too, Backstromsaid.Capitals left wing Jason Chimera said that if NHL team ownersare concerned about their players getting injured overseas they should get to thebargaining table and hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.The owners are not too concerned because theyre not tryingto get a deal done, Chimera said. Guys want to play hockey. Were not onstrike; were locked out.You risk getting an injury driving to the rink today moresothan playing hockey. There are more bad drivers out there than bad skaters.Guys want to play and thats the bottom line.Earlier this week, Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth agreedin principle to a contract with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga. Thatcontract is expected to be finalized in the coming days, allowing Neuvirth to practicewith his former team. Once that contract is finalized Neuvirth will join Ovechkinas the two Capitals who have committed to play in Europe.That number is expected to grow in the coming weeks.The longer were locked out the more of a chance there isthat more players are going to go play, Capitals forward Matt Hendricks said. Forus to sit out and not play an entire season is crazy. We cant afford to dothat. We need to keep playing this game. We love the game; itspart of who we are. The longer this continues the more guys I suspect will bejumping over the pond.