"Do you plan on changing teams at the end of the season? Washington's game looks hopeless."This is very significant. Ovechkin's now openly questioning whether or not he'll be a Capital for much longer. With guys like Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and, yes, Sidney Crosby already signing long-term deals with their clubs, a framework is in place.
"I don't know yet where I will be next season. I am not negotiating my new contract. I want to stay in Washington. But who knows what is going to happen?"
Many Caps bloggers opined over the summer when Crosby resigned that it wasn't for very long (even though Crosby was forgoeing one year of UFA) and that at $8.7 million, it was hardly a hometown discount. You probably won't be hearing too much of that again.
Ovechkin scenarios now:
#1: Finish out the season, become a RFA. Someone obviously offers a huge contract, Caps obviously match and retain rights. Ovechkin either sucks it up and becomes a little happier for playing for $10+ million a year, or whines and demands a trade.
#2: Becomes RFA. Let's it be known he'd rather be playing in Russia next year than come back to Washington and force a trade that route. If Aleksey Morozov can command $4 million (US), then I'd imagine some wealthy owner could and would make an enticing offer for Ovechkin if the Caps try to call his bluff.
#3: Commit himself fully to his team, sign a long term contract that forgoes 1 year of being unrestricted and tailor the terms of the contract to well under a million dollars of the current maximum.
#3 is how Crosby went. I have a feeling AO will be a lot closer to one of the top 2 scenarios. If you think there's frustrating times for the Penguins right now, a look to my hometown shows there's definitely trouble brewing...