Nicklas Backstrom has signed with the KHL's Dynamo Moscow, reuniting him with Alex Ovechkin for the duration of the lockout... or has he?
Nicklas Bäckström hasn't signed the contract with Dynamo Moscow yet. One of the things that still remains to be negotiated is the length of the contract. Bäckström wants an opportunity to break the contract with Dynamo if the lockout lasts all season. That is something the KHL club is not particularly interested in according to Sportbladet’s sources. Nicklas Bäckström has been very clear all along that he wants to play with Brynäs, if they let him, but so far they are turning him down.
"I don’t comment on ongoing negotiations, but I can confirm that all the details are not yet finalized." says, Gunnar Svensson, Nicklas Bäckström’s Swedish agent, to Sportbladet.
It's unlikely that anything here will cause a deal to fall through at this point, but stranger things have happened. And, to clarify, it sounds as if Dynamo would be fine with Backstrom leaving in the event that the NHL lockout ends, but wouldn't want to give him an out should an opportunity with another non-NHL club become available... which brings us to the next point, that bit about his former Swedish club, Brynäs, being Backstrom's first choice, which is something Backstrom himself told Expressen (see also here), as he spoke of his decision to head to Moscow:
"Brynäs was my first choice so of course I’m disappointed, but it is what it is. I just couldn't sit around and wait for them indefinitely, this was my only alternative. I’m really looking forward to playing some hockey again. I’m not sure when I will play my first game for Dynamo Moscow, it depends on how I feel when I get over there.
"It’s always fun to have another Swede on the team. I know Richard Gynge from when we both played together with Brynäs. He is a good guy.
"I’m really looking forward to finally play some games. I have been on ice over here in the States, but I probably am not in real game shape just yet. "
Brynäs is in a bit of a spot here, given the Swedish Elite League's lack of desire to make use potentially short-term NHL labor, something the club apparently supports and intends to honor. Back to Sportbladet:
"Of course it's a very strange feeling. It’s been an incredibly tough decision to say no thanks to Nicklas. But there are two dimensions to this: Nicklas - the man, is an incredible person and a true ambassador for Brynäs. But at the same time, we made a decision early on that we that we think will be the best for us in the long run and then you have to stay by that decision," says club director Hans-Göran Karlsson.
According to Sportbladet’s calculations Nicklas Bäckström insurance would cost Brynäs around 600,000 kronor per month. And they have financial means to afford to pay his insurance.
"Yes, we have the economy to bring him home, the fact that we do have the money makes this decision extra tough for us."
So there you have it - two Leagues (the NHL and SEL) now have said "No" to the Caps' top pivot, so he's off to Moscow to pair up with his pal Ovi... assuming the i's get dotted and t's get crossed. As with seemingly everything related to this lockout, it's clear as mud.
(H/t to Malin on the translations - super work, as always.)