Alex Ovechkin has signed a contract to play with the Kontinental Hockey League's Moscow Dynamo. Evgeni Malkin has done the same with the KHL's Mettalurg franchise (via TSN.ca).
Dozens of NHL players have signed to play in the KHL and other European leagues, including the Swedish Elite League, the Czech League and the Finnish Elite League.
Could Sidney Crosby be the next player to put his name on a deal to play in an overseas league until the NHL lockout comes to an end?
It's a possibility, but it seems like the idea of Crosby going overseas to join his Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Malkin is one that will not come to fruition (via Yahoo! Sports).
It just may be too cost-prohibitive for Crosby and the team that might bring him aboard.
The expense would not be the salary a KHL (or any other league) team would pay him. The expense would be for the insurance that would be needed to cover Crosby.
Crosby, of course, signed a 12-year, $104.4 million contract extension with the Penguins in late June. According to Crosby's agent Pat Brisson, the cost of insuring that deal would be approximately $400,000 per month (via NBCSports.com).
Who would pick up that expense? Would a new team pick up that kind of overhead for the privilege of having Crosby on the roster for an undetermined period of time?
It may be worth it for a team that would benefit greatly from Crosby's presence. He is a huge name in any hockey market, and he would draw fans to the arena. So it might be worth having him.
But here's the problem for Crosby: His concussion issues would make it even more risky to play (according to NBCSports.com).
Since he has had that issue impact his health, he would be unlikely to get insurance for a career-ending injury caused by another concussion.
The Penguins face that same issue. The cost of getting insurance for a previous condition involving an elite athlete would either be staggering or the insurance would not be available. That forces any team that employs Crosby to absorb that cost.
The Penguins really had little choice in the matter. Crosby may be the best player and is the face of the game when healthy. How would they have ever explained to their fans that they would not re-sign him?
Of course, it didn't come to that.
But if Crosby got hurt playing for another team, the Penguins would seemingly be off the hook for the cost of his salary.
Playing overseas has its advantages for many players. But Crosby is not many players. He would put his career and his legacy at risk for the chance to wear a KHL uniform.
It hardly seems worth it.