Russian team claims it still owns rights to Ovechkin

WASHINGTON -- Alexander Ovechkin's former Russian team is trying to get him back.

Dynamo Moscow wants a U.S. court to enforce a Russian arbitrator's ruling that it still owns the rights to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NHL draft.

Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 15 goals -- no one else has more than four -- and 21 points. He leads NHL rookies in goals and ranks second in points.

In July, Ovechkin met a deadline to opt out of his 2005-06 contract with another Russian club, Avangard Omsk, so he could join the Capitals. His previous club, Dynamo Moscow, says that it matched Avangard Omsk's offer to Ovechkin but without an opt-out clause. Ovechkin played three years for Dynamo Moscow.

"We have been assured by legal counsel that both the ruling and the attempt to enforce it in the U.S. are without merit," Capitals general manager George McPhee said in a statement Sunday.

"Alex exercised his right to opt out of the Russian contract this past summer and signed with the Capitals. We are confident that the court will uphold Alex's contractual status and decision," he said.