NHL

Ovechkin signs mega-deal with Capitals

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TSN.ca Staff
1/11/2008 7:23:00 AM
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Alexander Ovechkin is going to be sticking around Washington for the long haul as he signed the biggest contract in the history of the NHL Thursday.  It's a 13-year extension with the Capitals worth a whopping $124 million.

"I'm happy to stay here," Ovechkin told the Assoicated Press. "It's my second home. I like the fans. I like the team. I like everything here."

Sources tell TSN it is believed the structure of the contract will pay Ovechkin $9 million per year for the first six years of the term and $10 million for the remaining seven years.

"When you read the newspaper and, like, 'Ovechkin can go over there,' 'Ovechkin can be traded,' you feel it," said Ovechkin. "But then you try and don't think about it, but you think about it. Right now, I think all about my game."

The Capitals made the announcement Thursday night at a news conference following a Meet the Team Party for season ticket holders.

"I'm a risk-taker," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. "And if you're going to make a long-term investment, who else would you do it with?"

"I know it's extra pressure, but I have to play the same," said Ovechkin. "If you think of pressure, it's hard for you. I have to play the same way - play more, play better."

The contract will expire in the 2020-'21 season when Ovechkin wil be 35-years-old.

Ovechkin, who represented himself in the contract talks, easily trumped the mega-deals signed by Islanders' goaltender Rick DiPietro and Flyers' forward Mike Richards.

"My bet is the money won't affect him," explained Leonsis. "He'll play every shift like it's the seventh game of the finals of the Stanley Cup, and that's what we've come to love about him."

The former Calder Trophy winner is having another outstanding season for the Capitals, leading the team with 32 goals, 52 points and a +6 rating.  He is currently 9th in the NHL in scoing.  In 206 career games, the Moscow born sniper has fired home 130 goals and picked up 120 assists.

Ovechkin, who was selected first overall by the Capitals in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, was set to become a restricted free-agent at the end of the season.  This season he is earning $3.83 million.

With files from the Associated Press

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