Surprisingly, what was a pre-season question now seems a certainty. Alex Ovechkin will break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record. There was some concern or controversy as to whether Ovie could maintain her simply ridiculous pace as she approached her 30s. He pretty much canceled him in the opening week or two of the season, and now has 20 goals in 28 games, good for second place in the league. That puts him in step for 58, and even if he can’t keep up that pace, another 50-goal season looks pretty close to the block. It would be his seventh.
So, at the end of the season, it seems certain (barring injury) that Ovechkin will be somewhere around 100 goals away from Gretzky. It may take just two seasons to catch Gretz. It may take up to a quarter. But it will happen.
Should, Ovechkin is the best scorer the league has ever seen, and we have been over and over again the numbers that say why.
Even Gretzky himself he said Ovechkin is the top scorer and wants him to break the record. But you’d better believe there are some fourth estate members in the Great White North, who won’t allow their precious son to be knocked off the throne by some Russian without trying to discredit or slander Ovie’s success. How dare anyone sit on top of the game’s singular accomplishment that has never driven a shady bus to Swift Current! We must protect our precious game!
Which leads to bullshit like this:
The article itself actually gets worse, if you can believe it. As is baffling lore north of 49th, Nick Faris finds a random old ex player to drag out of the nearest barn or forest to spit out some misunderstanding before they pay him from Labatt and send him on his way, which it’s not in any particular direction. In this case it’s Randy Gregg, who I’ve definitely heard of before. Gregg thinks Ovechkin’s lead in extra time, which is somehow worth discussing in and of itself, is because Gretzky was so nice and a player to pass first and the Oilers also had, you know, 63 others. Hall of Fame players to use, like it’s Ovie’s fault or something. The whole thing is, “Well, Gretzky could have scored more goals if he wanted to, but he was too kind!” Seriously, this is presented as a serious analysis.
Faris then wants to say that because the Oilers blew up so many teams and failed to work overtime, that somehow his goals … are better? I guess a record that goes in goal doesn’t know what the numbers on the clock say, but even then the records might be more philosophical than I’m giving them credit. Then Faris rambles on Gretzky’s goals being more meaningful, as if a January Tuesday night in fucking New Jersey weren’t as grueling in 1987 as it is now.
This won’t be the last time you hear it. More and more writers will try to “qualify” Ovechkin’s record in any way possible so that he doesn’t break the game that they remember luckily he’s gone forever. There will be no mention of the two full seasons that Ovechkin has lost due to the lockouts and the pandemic, which today would like him on Gretzky’s ass. Nor is there any mention that most of the goalkeepers Gretzky was scoring on were refugees from Smurf Village with all the poise and technique of a half-drunk wombat (which excludes the fact that most of those goalkeepers were probably completely drunk).
Ovechkin has the best goal-per-game rate of anyone in history and he did it in an age where goals are far more difficult to achieve than anyone else close to him. Point. End of the story. Go back to the cottage and leave us fucking alone in the logical world.