The NHL will be entering its centennial year in 2017 and Tuesday, Gary Bettman announced their centennial ambassador: Wayne Gretzky.
During a long introductory press conference with reporters in Toronto, Gretzky spoke on a wide range of topics and then Alex Ovechkin got brought up.
At the 6:30 mark, Gretzky was asked by a Russian reporter (addressing him as “Mr. Gretzky”) if he thought Ovechkin could break his all-time goal record.
Gretzky avoided making a prediction, but did show his support.
“If he does, I’ll be there to congratulate him,” Gretzky said after a laugh. “I happen to think the world of Alex. He’s been a tremendous player in our game so I wish him nothing but the best of luck.
Later, Gretzky was asked who he thought was the NHL’s most elite player. He left Ovechkin off his list.
“I’ve said this all the time. Crosby is the best player in the game,” Gretzky said. “I think he’s the best player because he works the hardest – even though he’s talented and has a lot of god-given talent – but he’s still the hardest-worker on the ice. I like Connor McDavid. I think this kid is going to be a tremendous superstar and a great player for our sport for a long time.”
A week ago, Ovechkin was asked if he thought he could catch The Great One’s 894 goal mark. He did not think so. At all.
“I don’t think somebody will beat this record,” Ovechkin told Elliotte Friedman. “In this hockey right now, in this league, I think it’s impossible.
“I have to have six seasons with 50 goals,” Ovechkin said incredulously. “I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to skate in six seasons!”
The 31-year-old Ovechkin, who became the fifth fastest player in hockey history to hit the 500-goal plateau, trails Gretzky by 369 tallies. He has scored 50 goals three straight seasons.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.