Alex Ovechkin is 35-years-old. There are 26 fewer games this season than usual (69 percent of a normal season). Granted I was an art major, but that simple math and logic suggest that Ovi, who averages .61 goals per game during his career, is unlikely to score 50 goals this season.
Do not tell this to Evgeny Kuznetsov.
After Sunday’s final scrimmage of training camp, Kuznetsov was asked, in what is becoming an annual tradition, how many goals Ovi would score this season.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Kuznetsov said. “This year, it’s tough (to score 50 goals). It will be bad for us, right, if he’s not gonna get fifty because it always feels like if he gonna score less than fifty then people start pressuring him because he’s not at the same level.”
He took a few seconds to consider.
“I truly believe that he’s gonna get fifty this year, too,” Kuznetsov said.
Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin’s centerman to start the season, guessed a little lower.
“I would put 35,” Backstrom said, “but I’m putting it low so hopefully it’s over that.
“The only thing you gotta say is Ovi’s always going to be Ovi,” Backstrom concluded. “It doesn’t matter what age he’s at. Everything he brings on a daily basis, he can play physical. He can score goals. We all know that. There are no limits with him. I think that says it all about his character.”
The responses to the question show the differences between the Capitals’ top two centermen: one’s more optimistic while the other’s more realistic.
“Whatever goals I score, nothing you can do,” Ovechkin said Thursday after the Capitals’ morning skate. “If I score 10, I score 10. If I score 20, I score 20. I’m just going to try and do my best and hope it’s going to be a regular season.”
Anyway, my MacBook’s calculator app says Ovi will score 34.19 goals this season if he tallies at the same pace as he’s done in the past.
How many goals do you think Ovi will score? Let us know your guess in the comments.
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