MOSCOW (AFP) –
Russian ice hockey star Alexander Ovechkin has signed for his old team Dynamo Moscow amid a lockout over a labour dispute between the National Hockey League (NHL) and their players, the team said Thursday.
“Dynamo Moscow has signed a contract with the Washington striker. The 27-year-old alumnus of Dynamo Moscow has already undergone medical checks after which he took part in the white-and-blues’ training,” a team statement said.
“It’s pleasant when you come back to your home club. Of course there are a lot of new guys whom I have just met,” Ovechkin said on the ice at his first training session, in a video posted on the club’s website.
“I feel comfortable and of course confident. Of course I want to show a beautiful game, the main thing is I am now playing for the national champions, so I need to keep up the standard.”
The gap-toothed star of Washington Capitals is one of several players to return to Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) after a labour standoff between NHL and their players escalated and the league officially locked out players.
“For him right from the start it was very important to play specifically for his native Dynamo during the lockout. So now everyone is happy: the club and the player himself,” Ovechkin’s agent Gleb Chistyakov told Sport Express daily.
Ovechkin told the newspaper it would be “unethical” to discuss his salary.
Fellow Moscow team CSKA also competed for Ovechkin, but Dynamo Moscow’s president Arkady Rotenberg personally called the player, Chistyakov said.
Ovechkin held his first training session with the team late Wednesday, playing under number 32, his original number in the team, Sport Express reported.
“Ovi is already home!” Sovetsky Sport reported Thursday, quoting the team’s doctor Valery Konov as saying he had a clean bill of health and “no pathological states except a missing front tooth.”
Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin has signed with Magnitogorsk and is set to play for them Thursday after getting permission from the International Ice Hockey Federation, Sport Express added.