MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti)
Alex Ovechkin's old team Dynamo Moscow has a "moral right" to the Washington Capitals star forward if the NHL season is disrupted by a lockout, KHL president Alexander Medvedev said Tuesday.
Medvedev insisted that Dynamo should have first refusal on the 26-year-old wing in the event of a lockout, despite reported interest from big-spending CSKA Moscow, Medvedev said.
"Of course there's a formal bureaucratic side which can be disputed sometimes, but there's also a moral-ethical side," Medvedev said.
"I don't think anyone will dispute the moral rights of Dynamo to the player Alexander Ovechkin."
The league president did not specify what action, if any, the KHL might take to enforce a "moral right."
Medvedev also praised Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin's decision to agree to return to his former team Metallurg Magnitogorsk, which holds his rights and which he left for the NHL in acrimonious circumstances in 2006.
"Maybe there's not a 100 percent legally fair situation with Malkin, from the point of how he left, but Evgeni's taken a very wise decision that if there'll be a lockout, he'll play for Magnit," he said.
"The KHL commission has decided to consolidate [Metallurg's] rights to Malkin."
The Swedish league has already declared that its clubs will not be allowed to sign NHL players unless the season is canceled, but Medvedev said the KHL had no intention of following the Swedes' lead.
"What the Swedes decided, well, that's their choice," he said.
As for the NHL, a lockout will not make the North American behemoth any weaker to challenges from the much younger KHL, Medvedev said.
"They've lost whole seasons and come out of it no less strong," he said, in an apparent reference to the cancelled 2004-05 season.
The new KHL season started Tuesday with Dynamo beating Avangard Omsk 2-1 on penalty shots following a 2-2 tie after overtime.
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