While Alexander Ovechkin drew attention last month for saying he might stay and play in the KHL if he doesn't agree with the terms of a new CBA in the NHL, fellow countryman Sergei Gonchar doesn't think that line of thinking is that unreasonable.
The Ottawa Senators defenceman told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on ESPN.com on Friday that in his opinion, staying home is a possibility.
"Yeah, why not? If you think about it, maybe you can put something in the new CBA," said Gonchar, who is playing for Magnitogorsk in the KHL. "If the guys feel like it's not fair what's on the table, they might ask [NHLPA executive director] Don [Fehr] to put something in the new CBA to allow them to stay back home. I mean, why not? We don't know where it's going with that new CBA. Everything is possible. That's why I think there is a chance that a guy like Alex might stay back home."
The KHL and the NHL have a 'memo of understanding' whereby each league promises to respect each other's contracts so that under the terms, players under NHL contracts currently in the KHL should return to North America after the NHL lockout ends.
According to LeBrun's ESPN.com blog, there has been speculation that Ovechkin and players like Ilya Kovalchuk or Pavel Datsyuk might consider trying to stay in Russia, even after the end of the lockout.