Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hey, Look at That! A Journalist with Common Sense!

In the wake of the myriad of articles proclaiming Alex Ovechkin might/will/should/could leave Washington after this season, there's one breath of fresh air, courtesy of Fox Sports' Spector:

The Washington Capitals will re-sign Alexander Ovechkin. Some pundits and rumormongers are conjuring up dream scenarios of where he could or should be dealt or sign as a restricted free agent because the Capitals haven't re-signed him yet.

It's nonsense. Ovechkin is the Capitals' franchise player, whom team owner Ted Leonsis sees as the foundation upon which to rebuild the team. It's taking longer than some expected but the Caps appear to be on the right track, and their front office has no intention of ditching Ovechkin.

The only reason these rumors are popping up is because the Caps haven't re-signed Ovechkin yet, but those dreaming up these preposterous theories conveniently overlook that it's still seven long months until July 1, 2008, when he'd become a restricted free agent and eligible to receive offer sheets.

They're also overlooking the fact that the Capitals have the right to match any offer and will. They're not about to lose a franchise player for first-round picks. It's also possible the Caps could take Ovechkin to arbitration simply to prevent him from receiving an offer sheet.

As with Ovechkin in Washington, the Calgary Flames will re-sign defenseman Dion Phaneuf. The only reason there's not as much silly speculation about Phaneuf's future is because in the minds of many fantasists he plays in a "real" hockey town that "deserves" him.

So there. They aren't all crazy.

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