While handicapping the Art Ross race with ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Wayne Gretzy, the greatest hockey player to ever live, shared effusive praise for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
“Obviously, from the outside it looks like he’s matured (playing a 200-foot game) and yet he’s still scoring as many goals as he’s always scored,” Gretzky said to LeBrun. “It just shows you, that you can be attentive to what you need to do for your team and yet you can still produce offensively. I think it’s remarkable what Ovechkin has done this year.”
While the 29-year-old Ovechkin will easily win the Rocket Richard Trophy, he sits fourth in the league in points (73), two points behind forever-rival Sidney Crosby (75) for the league lead. In a weird twist, this season no player will likely eclipse the century mark in points.
“It doesn’t mean the hockey hasn’t been good,” Gretzky said. “The hockey I’ve watched this year has been as exciting or better as it’s ever been. The players are better today than they were two years ago. Just because we’re not going to have a 100-point man, I mean, if you watch Tavares play, he plays hard every single shift, every single night. It’s just tougher to score now, as simple as that.”
Which makes what Ovechkin’s done over the last few years, even more special– or I guess gr8.
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