Wayne Gretzky knows a thing or two about hockey. After all, he is the greatest player to ever play the game. So when he speaks, the hockey world should listen and The Great One had plenty to say about The Great Eight after the Washington Capitals' latest playoff disappointment.
Alex Ovechkin is one of the best players of this generation. When his career is over, he will be considered one of the greatest of all time. And yet, he has never advanced past the second round of the playoffs and, at 31, Gretzky knows the pressure is starting to mount.
"I’m sure Alex is feeling it," Gretzky said, via the Edmonton Journal. "When I saw him a couple of months ago, he was desperately hoping they’d win this year. That’s all he wants, a Stanley Cup.”
Over the years, Ovechkin has borne the brunt of the criticism for the Capitals' struggles, but that certainly wasn't the case against Washington's loss to Pittsburgh. Gretzky said that Ovechkin "did everything he could" and that he "played as hard as he could in the series."
Many of Gretzky's Canadian bretheren have criticized Ovechkin over the years for his style of play and the emotion with which he plays the game. To them, Ovechkin is to hockey what Bryce Harper is to baseball.
Gretzky, however, does not seem share that point of view and defended the Caps' captain going so far as to say he was rooting for him to one day win a Cup.
“I give him lots of credit," Gretzky said. "He loves the game, he’s good for the game and when a guy like that loves it so much, you hope his name is on the Stanley Cup. He’s got everything in hockey but that."