Ted Leonsis met with the media ahead of the Capitals’ pregame ceremony celebrating Alex Ovechkin scoring 700 goals on Tuesday.
The affable owner spoke about Ovechkin’s legendary durability. “You know, Russian machine never breaks,” he said. Leonsis also revealed a previously unreported detail about Nicklas Backstrom’s contract negotiations to NBC4 Washington.
Backstrom charted out how Ovi would reach Wayne Gretzky’s goals record of 894.
CHASING THE GREAT ONE: @TedLeonsis shares that Nicklas Backstrom, while negotiating his extension, broke down exactly how Alex Ovechkin can and will pass Wayne Gretzky's 894 goal mark. #Capitals #ALLCAPS @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/CPZQryAYMh
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) February 25, 2020
“Nick Backstrom, when we were negotiating his contract extension, said here’s how [Ovi] will pass Wayne Gretzky and literally broke it down game-by-game, season-by-season, trip-by-trip and was emphatic that he’d be able to do it,” Leonsis said.
Leonsis was asked about what season Backstrom thought it would happen.
“He really thinks that Alex’s shot has not lost anything and that’s what’s so amazing,” Leonsis said deftly pivoting from giving a direct answer. “[H]e got his 700th goal, there’s a bunch of games left, that’s another 10-15 goals this season to get 50, 55, 60 goals, and you’re this age and he was the fastest to go from 500 to 600 and then 600 to 700, so it’s all about health and us continuing to having a good team. We’re committed to him and… to have excellence around him and why not. Let’s try to make history!”
While Wayne Gretzky believes Ovechkin has a “legitimate chance” to catch and pass him, Ovechkin said publicly again that “I don’t think it’s possible” in an interview with NBC Sports Washington’s Craig Laughlin.
But, Leonsis, the Monumental Sports and Entertainment majority owner, has seen a shift in Ovi’s demeanor regarding the record behind the scenes.
“[F]or the first time, I’m sensing that Alex thinks it’s reachable,” Leonsis said. “It’s not a layup but he’s healthy. If he averages 35 goals a season, he plays four or five more years he’s going to get really, really close. I always thought that was the record that would never be broken in hockey. The good news is Alex would rather win more Stanley Cups than break that record. If he can do both, that would be spectacular.
Headline photo courtesy of the @Capitals
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