something more concrete: http://www.sport-express.ru/art.shtml?151963
It is an interview with Alex Ovechkin from after practice today with Slava Malamud, one of the two Russian reporters who cover the Caps. Obviously, it is in Russian, so I "translated" it with freetranslator.com, but it is very rough at best.
The general premise is a club from the Russian Super League has offered Ovechkin a one-year deal, and Alex confirmed it. Ovechkin's dad told Slava the deal was for $7 million (which is a nice chunk of change considering the current tax situation in Russia), but neither of them would confirm which team it is from.
During the interview, Ovechkin dismissed the rumors about Montreal and said he wants to stay in the NHL. So maybe there is nothing to this at all, but like I said, at least it is more concrete than some of the crap flying around.
Thanks Corey, here's the translation (Jan. 9, 2008):
Q.: How much pressure the contract negotiations put on you?
A.: It puts pressure on Washington, not on me.
Q.: Are Caps doing something?
A.: So far not. But it's ok, we have a lot of time.
Q.: There was the info that the Caps gave you an offer, but you refused it?
A.: No, there was nothing like that.
Q.: Canadian press was talking about you going to Montreal; for 120 mil, 15 years.
A.: Yes, I've heard, but it was the writer's version. Money's good though...
Q.: So you were thinking about it?
A.: Nothing serious, I am still playing here. And I hope I will play here for a long time. But you never know, anything can happen.
Q.: What is the most important thing for you? A contract, a status of a star in a better hockey place or the chance to play for the team that can win?
A.: The number one thing for me is to win, the contract is secondary. Playing just for the sweater? Nobody cares much about it like it used to be. And the last thing for me is the star status.
Q.: The Caps have the problems with all three reasons that I've named above. Not too many wins, no ongoing contract negotiations and not a hockey town. Do you think there's a big chance you'd be elsewhere next season?
A.: Anything can happen. Why not? But if we are talking about what I want, then I want to stay here and play for the Washington Capitals. So far I am confortable here.
Q.: What if you'll have an offer from Russia for the same money?
A.: I already have it. But I won't tell from whom exactly.
Q.: And? Do you seriously think about it?
A.: No. Russia is my second priority.
A.: Because my dream was to play in NHL. Of course being back home, with my relatives and girlfriend would be nice... But my relatives can visit me, my girlfriend can live here, it all can be solved.
Q.: The offer is from a big city or from a small one?
A.: From a big city.
Victor Kozlov: Where are you sending him? To Moscow?
Ovechkin: I'd rather prefer Togliatti. :-) It is a large city too. :-) (Kozlov is from that city)
Q.: Was the contract for one year?
A.: Yes, but I am not considering it seriously.
Victor Kozlov: Where is he going?
Ovechkin: To Vladivostok :-) (Vladivostok is on Russia's Far East next to Japan)
Victor Kozlov: Ok. Are you gonna play there for a couple of oil wells?
Ovechkin: Yep, and I am gonna smoke bamboo :-) (Russian expression that means "to lay back and do nothing")
Q.: Well, seriously, what are the chances percentage wise to stay in Washington?
A.: Right now? If I am still in Caps sweater? 100%.
Q.: OK, let's say the season is over and you still don't have an offer? How big are the chances for you to end up in Russia?
A.: They are less than staying in America. This is my dream to play here. I am always happy to play for the Russian National team, but I'd rather play in NHL than in Russian Superleague.
Q.: What do your parents think about it?
A.: They are trying not to interfere. They are saying I have to decide myself.
Q.: Don't you think it not wise to tell everyone that the Russian Superleague is your second choice? Russia doesn't have any signed agreement with NHL, you can leave in July without anything from Washington. At least if you would say that you are serious about going to Russia, Washington management would started doing something?
A.: Frankly, I don't like to push anybody. If it is yes, then yes, if it is no, then no. I think something will happen very soon. I mean I will receive an offer that will suit me. I believe I'll play for Washington next year.
Mikhail Ovechkin (Father): The offer from Russia was for 7 mil, the same as from Montreal. But because of 60% tax, it would be the worst move, as of moving to Russia, not the best too because of less financial guaranties compared to NHL. If we could only think about the money, then it is another story. But I prefer for Sasha to stay in Washington. It is nice and quiet here, nothing distracts you from playing hockey.
- Most likely the offer is from Moscow Dynamo where Tatiana Ovechkin is the President, General Manager and the Head Coach of women's basketball team.
- 7 mil in Russia translates into 14 mil in NHL because of the tax free payments in Russia.