Capitals

Quick Links

As Ovechkin's legacy grows, even some of his fiercest rivals can't stop praising him

As Ovechkin's legacy grows, even some of his fiercest rivals can't stop praising him

Four players from the Metropolitan Division joined a video conference with reporters on Thursday to discuss a wide range of topics including the coronavirus, the season format when the league returns from its pause and, of course, Alex Ovechkin. To the utter chagrin of the Great 8 himself who was among the four players on the conference, there was plenty of praise heaped upon him by the other three.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno said in reference to a recent video of Sergei Ovechkin shooting the puck that he would send his kids over for tips.

"I'm sending my kids over as soon as this quarantine up to work out with Ovi and get that shot going," he said. "They're all right-handers so I don't know how to teach them."

New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban said multiple times over the course of the call that he was glad the Devils were not among the teams the Capitals have to play in their remaining 13 games of the regular season.

"I’m confident if we played another 13 games this season and Ovi plays, Ovi can get another 20 goals in that time," he said.

Such is life for an all-time great.

Sometimes it can be hard to grasp history in the present or to know exactly how a player will be viewed years from now when they have hung up the skates. And then there are players like Ovechkin who we already know will go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game.

At 34 years old, Ovechkin's Hall of Fame legacy is not in question. What is in question is just how many milestones he may ultimately achieve. When a player reaches that status, his opponents can't help but praise him.

“Ovi, I just can’t stand how you just stand in that one damn spot and score all those goals," Foligno said. "That drives me crazy.”

"It’s been fun to watch and fun to see you continue year after year," New York Islanders forward Anders Lee said.

Some players will give canned quotes when the cameras or the recorders turn on -- quotes that sound stale and rehearsed and which leaves you feeling like they don't actually mean anything. The format of the video conference, done out of necessity due to the coronavirus, provided a unique look as the players were essentially speaking to one another. Each player was on the conference with a moderator asking them questions. Many of the questions turned into a back-and-forth between the players which gave a unique look into how the players actually feel and interact with one another.

It was striking the level of respect they all had for Ovechkin.

“You’ve done a great job for that team, obviously, and just the way you play the game," Foligno said. "I love the passion that you play with. I think that’s something everybody appreciates about you."

And that's from the captain of the team the Caps eliminated in the first round in 2018, having to rally back from a 2-0 series deficit.

All the talk surrounding Ovechkin this season stems from two important things. First, he became just the eighth player in NHL history to score 700 goals. Second, with 13 games remaining in the regular season, he was going to score 50 goals again for the ninth time of his career which would have tied him with Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most 50-goal seasons ever. In a larger sense, another 50-goal season (or 48 -goal season as it stands now) has made the idea of catching Gretzky's record of 894 goals seem at least possible.

Gretzky's record has long thought to be untouchable, but as Ovechkin appears poised to make a run at one of hockey's most important records held by one of Canada's favorite sons, Ovechkin is getting nothing but support from his peers.

"I think if he did catch Wayne, it would be great for the game," Subban said. "I think we see it in other sports. We see what [LeBron James is] doing in basketball. We’ve seen what Tom Brady’s done. I think that in hockey, we’ve seen it as the years go by and by, a lot of these legends and Hall of Famers that are there getting older and we need to have people that currently you can touch and you can watch and you can talk to and see and watch on TV that are setting milestones as well. So, I think it’s great for the game."

That's a subject Ovechkin hates talking about and he even stepped in after a few answers to say, "Let's finish this one."

But it is a subject that will be inescapable the closer he gets to reaching it. With every goal, Ovechkin's legacy grows larger and even his fiercest rivals can't help but their tip their caps to him as he makes a run at history.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

How to watch Evgeny Kuznetsov's best games with the Capitals

How to watch Evgeny Kuznetsov's best games with the Capitals

Over the past six seasons, forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has been one of the biggest reasons for the Capitals' success.

Kuzy has been extremely durable for the Capitals, playing in at least 76 games over the past six seasons, excluding the 2019-20 shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winger has been one of Washington's best attacking players during that span, splitting time between both Washington's first and second lines. 

No. 92 has also found a knack for playing his best hockey on the sport's biggest stages. Kuznetsov netted arguably the most important goal in Capitals history, scoring the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2018 Eastern Conference semi-finals in overtime to eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins, "exorcising the demons" for a franchise that previously could not get past the second round. We all know how that story ends, with the Capitals hoisting the Stanley Cup just over a month later.

On Sunday, NBC Sports Washington is airing four of Kuznetsov's best regular-season performances. At 9 a.m., tune in to watch the Caps 6-5 overtime thriller over the Tampa Bay Maple Leafs from January 3, 2017. In that contest, Kuzy totaled four points, netting one goal and notching three assists, including one that set up Alex Ovechkin's game-winning goal.

Following that, we travel back to October of 2018, when Kuznetsov turned in another four-point performance in a 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in a rematch of the 2018 Stanley Cup. Kuzy started the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal and would tally three assists later on in the match as the Caps cruised to a dominating win.

At 2 p.m., the Caps 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings from February 11, 2019, will re-air. In this matchup, Kuznetsov finished with four points once again, this time finding the back of the net twice to go along with a pair of assists. To close out the day, tune in to see Kuznetsov net two goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes at 4:30 p.m.

A trip down memory lane that highlights Kuznetsov's greatest games is the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE CAPITALS TALK PODCAST

When:

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Where:

Broadcast Schedule:

9:00 a.m.: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Capitals from January 3, 2017

11:30 a.m.: Vegas Golden Knights @ Capitals from October 10, 2018

2:00 p.m.: Los Angeles Kings @ Capitals from February 11, 2019

4:30 p.m.: Arizona Coyotes @ Capitals from November 11, 2019 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Ever Wonder: Why the Capitals' jerseys have three stars on them

Ever Wonder: Why the Capitals' jerseys have three stars on them

The current Washington Capitals jersey design — the red home sweaters with the white away ones — has been the defining look for the team throughout much of the Alex Ovechkin era.

During the summer of the 2007 season, the Caps rebranded. The franchise changed its colors from black and blue back to the organization's original design scheme of red, white, and blue. The jerseys that followed were similar to Washington's old-school look, having plenty of similarities with the uniform they wore from 1974-1994.

However, when the Caps unveiled their new look in 2007, there was one big difference from their old uniforms. The new-look had three stars on the front, compared to the six stars that had been across the top of the old sweaters.

Capitals assistant general manager Don Fishman spoke with NBC Sports Washington and explained why the franchise chose to go with just three stars, and it's because each star has a specific meaning.

"The three stars on our current Capitals jersey represent the three jurisdictions: Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.," Fishman said.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE CAPITALS TALK PODCAST

While cutting the number of stars from six to three on the front of the sweater was a big change, Fishman explained that the new uniform was designed to be a modernized version of the franchise's original look.

"It was sort of meant to update and modernize the original Caps jersey, beautiful, old-school, 1970's work hard," Fishman said. "That jersey had six stars and was even on the jerseys in the 90s with the blue and black jersey. So we wanted to keep that concept of the stars, but we didn't want to keep that exact same look. So instead, we redid three stars right on the wordmark. The three stars seemed perfect."

The uniform change also marked the beginning of an incredible postseason run the Capitals have gone on since.

In 2007, the team's first year with the new look, the franchise made the playoffs for the first time in the Ovechkin era. Since then, they've made the postseason 11 of the past 12 seasons and won their first Stanley Cup in 2018.

For Fishman and many Caps fans, the red and white uniforms will always remind them of Washington's first championship and the franchise's biggest star.

"I think it's neat how this redesign will always be linked to Ovechkin and the Capitals' first Stanley Cup," Fishman said.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: