The Capitals and Alex Ovechkin tabled contract talks until training camp. Now, training camp is here as the team took to the ice for the first time on Monday, but the Caps and Ovechkin are not any closer towards getting a deal done.
"It's our first day, so I didn't see [general manager Brian MacLellan], obviously," Ovechkin said Monday. "But we have plenty of time."
Ovechkin is on the final year of his current 13-year deal with Washington and on the verge of entering the season without a new contract in hand. While he has made clear he does not want to play for another NHL team, the sense of urgency among the fans grows with every passing day.
But Ovechkin and the team are on a different timetable and in seemingly no rush to get a deal done.
"I don't think we on the rush," Ovechkin said. "I think we understand everything what's happening right now. Whatever is done is done. If it's not done, we're gonna talk and we'll see."
The bizarre circumstances of the past year with COVID-19 wreaking havoc in the sport has no doubt contributed to the slow pace of what was expected to be an easy negotiation between a team and player who both want to see him stay in Washington.
But while the end of Ovechkin's current contract may seem very close from the outside looking in, Ovechkin still feels there is plenty of time to get a deal done and is focused more on the season ahead.
"I think for me most important thing is just to play the game right now," Ovechkin said. "Of course it's one year. I've been in this position 13 years ago, right, when I have to sign a deal and worry about this kind of stuff. But right now I'm 35, I understand everything and I'm kind of experienced guy. Of course you're gonna think about when it's getting closer, but right now we in training camp and most important thing right now is go back on the ice and get your body moving, feel the game and after that we will talk."
If Ovechkin needs any help with a new deal, he could always turn to teammate Nicklas Backstrom.
Backstrom entered the final year of his contract last season and negotiated a new deal on his own which he signed in January.
Backstrom said he offered his services to Ovechkin to help him get a new contract, but for a price.
“I told him last year, I think, ‘I’ll take half a percent’ if he wants me to negotiate," Backstrom said. "But he said, ‘No, I’ll do it myself.’ So I don’t have any advice for him. I actually think that he negotiated his contract by himself his last contract, right? So he’s fine. He’s going to do a good job, I think.”