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Ovechkin rips owners for CBA demands

Winnipeg Jets v Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 09: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals reacts to a call during the game against the Winnipeg Jets at the Verizon Center on February 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Greg Fiume

Speaking with reporters today in Virginia, Capitals captain and NHLPA soldier Alex Ovechkin ripped the NHL for making what he deems unfair demands of the players in the escalating CBA negotiations.

“It’s not fair for us,” Ovechkin said, as per “They still make money. They still sell tickets and they have money. Why they sign us to long-term deals and that kind of money and when the CBA is done they want to cut our salary? Why do they want to cut 20 percent?

“If they’re going to cut a percentage of the contracts and years, I don’t think lots of guys who sign American deals are going to come back and play here. It’s not reasonable to be here. You have to think of your future. You have to think of your family.”

While the NHL’s latest proposal doesn’t include a salary rollback, the players argue they’d still lose money due to increased escrow payments.

“From a players’ standpoint,” union head Donald Fehr said recently, “it doesn’t make much difference. If the player doesn’t get the dollar value of his contract because of a roll back in the contract, or whether he doesn’t get an amount because there’s escrow, he still doesn’t get it. It amounts to the same thing.”

With $88 million still left to be paid out on Ovechkin’s $124 million contract, it’s not surprising he’s prepared to fight.

“Of course it’s going to be hard [if there’s a lockout,” said Ovechkin, “and of course it’s going to be a long time to wait. But it is what it is. Everybody wants to play hockey and make money. Nobody wants to play for free.”