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article imageAlexander Ovechkin on NHL CBA negotiations: Blame the Bettman

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By James Bisson     Sep 5, 2012 in Sports
Alexander Ovechkin believes he knows why the NHL and its players' association remain far apart in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Blame the Bettman.
Ovechkin discussed the ongoing negotiations - and impending lockout - during a lengthy and candid Q & A with the Washington Post. In it, the Washington Capitals star suggests that a second work stoppage in eight years may result in a mass exodus of players to other leagues - this time, for good.
And why isn't progress being made?
I don’t think we’re close enough to make a deal. It’s all about the owners and the Bettman.
It's possible Ovechkin was referring to "The Batman" - with that Russian accent, it's anyone's guess - but the former 60-goal scorer was likely referring to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who once again finds himself in the middle of an imbroglio that threatens to further diminish his reputation in the eyes of angry fans.
Among the other issues Ovechkin addresses in the interview:
His interest in playing in his native land: "Of course I’m thinking about it because my hometown has teams and my Russian federation have a league. Of course I’m probably going to be there. But I don’t want to be there, I want to be here."
On the suggestion that the league needs its players: "Yeah. If they need us, how I say, if they going to cut a percentage of the contract and years, I don’t think lots of guys who signed American deals are going to come back and play here. It’s not reasonable to be here."
On whether a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues would satisfy the players' union enough to get a deal done: "I think we know exactly what we’re going to do right now. I’m not going to tell you guys right now what’s in our mind."
Ovechkin shouldn't be hard up for cash anytime soon; according to a report from the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle, players will receive escrow payments held back from last season. The amount ranges between 6.5 and 8.5 percent, meaning a payout of roughly $40,000 for those making the NHL minimum - and a whopping $700,000 for Ovechkin, who is set to make just over $9.5 million this season.
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