Friday, January 11, 2008

124 million reasons to stay in DC

Now I see why Alex Ovechkin fired his agent….No person in the world would advise him to sign for such a long-term contract. Well, apparently one person in the world, his mother.

The Peerless appropriately points out that AO saved a nice chunk of change by not having to pay the agent’s commission, which is true. But consider the salary cap, which was at $39 million the first season after the lockout (max player contract is 20%: $7.8 million) has grown to $52 million this season (max $10.4 million) and the NHLPA has already stated they expect league-wide revenues to increase, and thus push the cap up further.

With the league looking at an inevitable return to ESPN in some form in the very near future, one could speculate hockey could ‘pop’ in the public image. Especially when young stars like Sidney Crosby and, ironically, Ovechkin push the sport further to more and more revenue. In a sense, Ovechkin could grow the sport with his play, which would raise others salaries but not his own.

Don’t get me wrong, $124 million guaranteed is nothing to sneeze at. It’s financial security for your kids’ kids kids. Just as impressive is the commitment Ovechkin made to the Caps. He could have used what little leverage he had to try to get in a new city on perhaps a team closer to competing or with a bigger (and more visible) market for hockey. But, as he said all along we’ll point out, he wanted to stay in Washington.

Congrats to the Capitals for getting their cornerstone locked up. Congrats to Ovechkin for deservedly breaking the bank. Congrats to the Caps fans for having something to get excited about. Congrats to us all for no longer having to hear morons like Eklund and Larry Brooks and wishful thinkers North of the Border with their crazy fantasies about where he might end up.

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