Aleksandr Ovechkin has become the latest NHL superstar to come back to play in Russia as the lockout continues in North America.
The Washington Capitals frontman, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Monday, signed a deal with reigning KHL champions Dynamo Moscow, choosing his former club over city rivals CSKA.
Overchkin is a two-time world champion, and has also been named the NHL's most valuable player twice. However, after seven seasons in America he has yet to lay his hands on the Stanley Cup. So the Gagarin Cup on home soil could sweeten that bitter pill.
The contract, attaching the Washington Capitals leader to the Russian side was signed on Wednesday. The financial side of the deal hasn’t been revealed, but it has been reported Ovechkin’s salary will be no more than two thirds his NHL wage.
Ovechkin is expected to face Ilya Kovalchuk and his new club, SKA St Petersburg in his debut game.
The NHL season was officially suspended last weekend after the players’ union failed to find common ground with the League on how to divide up the sport's revenue.
The season stoppage brought Russia’s brightest ice hockey stars back to Russia with Ilya Kovalchuk moving to SKA, Evgeny Malkin, Sergey Gonchar and Nikolay Kulemin going to Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Ilya Bryzgalov joining CSKA. Meanwhile, the future of the like of Pavel Datsyuk and Nail Yakupov is still unclear.
According to KHL regulations, contracts with NHL players must include a get-out clause in case the lockout is resolved.