KHL President Alexander Medvedev has long desired to have Russian stars in the NHL come back home to play for his League. Last summer, Ilya Kovalchuk’s “retirement” followed by his signing with SKA blazed a path for others to follow.
Medvedev, through a KHL spokesman, told ESPN.com earlier this month that, "Per the terms of our memorandum of understanding with the NHL as it relates to respecting player contracts, Ovechkin would only be free to join a KHL club if he negotiates his way out of his existing contract with the Washington club. Should that situation come to pass, I have no doubt there are KHL clubs who would have interest in his services."
In a recent interview with Championat.com, Medvedev went into further detail on Ovechkin and whether or not he’d make the jump to the KHL:
Q. How possible is it, in your opinion, for Ovechkin to repeat what Ilya Kovalchuk did and come to the KHL?
“The attacks directed at Alex are absolutely inexcusable. A person scored 51 goals this season, none of his competition was even close to that mark. To blame him for everything, saying that because of him the team didn’t make the playoffs, is probably testing his patience. I will remind you that there is a legal way for any player if he decides to play in another league (to do so) without breaking the mutual agreement to respect each other’s contracts between the NHL and the KHL. I will not tell you the details, but they were the ones Kovalchuk used when he decided to play for SKA.”
Q. Does Ovechkin have desire to play in the KHL?
“I haven’t spoken to him since the Olympics about it. Because it is pointless to put pressure on or influence a player.”
At least we know the subject came up during the Sochi Games.
Ovechkin is signed through 2021 with Washington.