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Sergei Gonchar thinks that Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk or Pavel Datsyuk might want to stay in Russia and play for the KHL, even when the NHL resumes play. For his part, Gonchar says he will return to the Senators.
Sergei Gonchar has made comments suggesting that should the lockout be resolved and the NHL have a season, some stars might not return. In comments provided by ESPN.com, Gonchar suggests that whether players like Alex Ovechkin return to play in the NHL is heavily dependent on the terms of the new CBA.
Ovechkin himself raised that possibility in September, and Henrik Zetterberg and Ilya Bryzgalov have recently made comments to similar effect. The KHL has an agreement with the NHL to respect the organization's contracts in the event the lockout ends, but Gonchar suggested that players like Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk or Pavel Datsyuk might ask for terms in the new CBA that allow them to continue playing in Russia. From ESPN:
"Yeah, why not? If you think about it, maybe you can put something in the new CBA," said Gonchar. "If the guys feel like it's not fair what's on the table, they might ask [NHLPA executive director] Don [Fehr] to put something in the new CBA to allow them to stay back home. I mean, why not? We don't know where it's going with that new CBA. Everything is possible. That's why I think there is a chance that a guy like Alex might stay back home."
Gonchar himself insists that he will return to Ottowa once the lockout is over. The veteran defenseman, who saw action in 74 games last year, has one year remaining on his contract with the Senators.