After notching his third hat trick in six games, Alex Ovechkin now sits two goals away from 700 in his career.
Earlier in the week, Ovi’s friend and fellow countryman, Evgeny Kuznetsov spoke to NBC4 Washington and gave his opinion on if he thinks Ovi can catch Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record. Ovechkin sits 196 goals away from Gretzky’s 894 at age 34.
“As long as he stay healthy, he can play four more years for sure,” Kuznetsov said. “For him, 200 more goals is probably four years.”
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) February 7, 2020
Kuzy has reason to be optimistic. Ovechkin has scored two or more goals in five of his last seven games and is on pace to score 61 goals this year. Ovi’s only hit the 60-goal plateau once before in his career when he hit the back of the net 65 times during his age 22 season.
Kuznetsov also shared how difficult it is to properly articulate Ovi’s greatness because he’s just a dude he hangs out with at the rink every day.
“It’s easy to talk now, but I probably when I’m going to be retired I’m going to share some stories about him like people share with Wayne Gretzky,” Kuznetsov said. “It’s tough for us to realize what kind of player he is right now and who we play with, who we sharing the locker room every day. He’s our friend. For us, it’s just normal to see him every day. For some people just different, right? They look at him like Jesus. But for us, it’s kind of tough, we’ve [traveled] with each other every day. Every day we see each other so for us it’s just normal. It’s kind of a little bit tough to realize who we play with.”
Finally, he described Ovi’s importance to kids in Russia.
“It’s everything,” he said. “When you even have one player like that, the people back home the kids back home, they gonna watch, they gonna try to have the same success like you had. It’s pretty tough for the kids in some other countries where they don’t have a favorite player, they don’t have anyone like Ovi, who’s like a Jesus for them. I always believe that kids have people like Ovi they can see and they want to be the same so that’s how they be better.”
While Kuzy is close to Ovi, he had no idea what his age was at the start of the interview.
“He just 32, right? 33? Whatever. 32? No?” he asked.
Someone off-camera responded, “He’s 34.”
“You have to say that. C’mon. He just turned 18 yesterday,” he laughed.
No @Capitals hockey until Saturday, raining throughout the DMV. Please let Evgeny Kuznetsov's belly laugh cheer you up! Great story with Kuzy coming… 👀 #Capitals #ALLCAPS @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/eCRVInGYiB
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) February 6, 2020
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