After seeing Ilya Kovalchuk walk away from his contract with the Devils and sign with the KHL, Alex Ovechkin knew the questions would follow him all the way back from his home in Moscow.
Would he be the next Russian to defect from the NHL and sign with his former team, Dynamo Moscow, which has been trying to lure him?
Or, would he honor the final eight years and $79 million on his contract with the Capitals?
“Yeah, I'm here and I'm gonna work for my contract,” Ovechkin told the Canadian Press Thursday following a photo shoot for the NHL. “Not gonna worry about it.”
Asked if it was flattering to hear that Dynamo Moscow general director Andrey Safranov wanted him to play for his team, Ovechkin repeated his earlier assertion.
“It's nice to hear from my first club when I'm growing up, they want me,” he said. “But I'm here and I have a contract.”
Ovechkin said he’s looking forward to returning to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, especially after Russia failed to medal in the 2010 Vancouver Games.
“If you [go] back to '06, Canada do the same,” Ovechkin said. “They lost, we beat them and we didn't get any medals [in 2010]. You never know what's gonna happen in the Olympics.”
Ovechkin said his left foot, which was fractured during the Caps’ first-round playoff loss to the Rangers, is completely healed and he’s “very excited” about starting his ninth season with the Caps.
“I miss hockey and I miss my team,” he said.
As for losing second-line center Mike Ribeiro to free agency, Ovechkin said he’s happy that the Caps signed center Mikhail Grabovski to a one-year, $3 million deal.
”When Ribs leave the team, we need another good player to fill our team and we sign a very good player,” Ovechkin said. “I hope Mikhail's gonna play well and he's gonna be happy with the Caps and happy to play with us.”