The NHL season is currently on pause due to the coronavirus, but if Alex Ovechkin could have his way, the regular season would be over.
Speaking on a video conference on Thursday, Ovechkin was asked how the season should resume play once circumstances allow for it, specifically if the league should scrap the remainder of the regular season and go straight into the playoffs.
"It's hard," Ovechkin said. "First of all, we don't know when this coronavirus is going to end, right? I think [the Capitals] have 13 games left until the playoffs ... for us, it's better if the playoffs starts right now."
The league's pause has now lasted two weeks and every passing day brings with it more postponed games. The continued disruption the pause is having on the season will force the league to adjust its schedule in some way. For Ovechkin, eliminating the remainder of the regular season is a clear solution, even if it hurts his quest for history.
Washington has 13 games remaining in the season. Ovechkin sits just two goals shy of reaching the 50-goal mark for the ninth time in his career which would tie him with Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky for the most ever. Ovechkin could have easily shattered that mark as he is on pace for 57 total goals for the season.
Ovechkin is essentially advocating to miss out on the chance to reach another historical milestone. It is never guaranteed that a player will be able to score 50 goals in a season and, at 34 years old, the odds are stacked against Ovechkin being able to score that many goals again.
But Ovechkin has his reasons and it goes beyond just wanting to get to the playoffs as quickly as possible.
"We don't want to play those extra games," Ovechkin said. "But for different guys who fight for a playoff spot, some guys want those extra games."
In the current NHL standings, Washington sits in first place in the Metropolitan Division. When you are in first, the only direction you could possibly go in the standings is down.
While Ovechkin did acknowledge more games would be better for the fans, he also stated the remainder of the season would be more beneficial to the other teams chasing the playoffs than it would be for Washington.
"Of course, the more games we play it's going to be better for the fans and it's going to be better for the teams fighting for the playoffs," Ovechkin said, "But I'd rather start the playoffs right away."
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