From the owner’s perspective, I guess they’re gambling that salaries will continue to rise–that $10 million for a superstar will look like a sweet deal in 2013. They may be right, but I think there are too many unknowns:
- The league isn’t exactly financially stable–half the teams are operating at a loss this season. Salaries may not rise that much.
- In terms of production, Ovechkin may cool off long before he hits the end of the deal at age 35.
- What if there’s some kind of Bertuzzi-esque incident (or, you know, he sleeps with the team captain’s wife) that sours the team and fans on Ovechkin in Washington? Other teams may be very reluctant to take on that baggage and an eight or 10 year contract.
But, then, what do I know? I don’t own an NHL franchise. And Ovechkin is the most exciting player in the league at the moment (though he has had the benefit of playing the league’s weakest teams a lot). So if I’m a Caps fan, I’m happy.
I’ve only seen him play live once, but he reminded me so much of Pavel Bure–the outstanding speed, the fearlessness and the huge, boyish joy at scoring.
Here’s the inevitable, gratuitous highlight video with goofy music: