Hockey Corridor of Famer Wayne Gretzky and Washington Capitals ahead Alex Ovechkin shared stories and memories throughout Monday’s “Hockey at Residence” interview series that aired on NBC Sports activities Community and Sportsnet.
The two prolific scorers achieved for the very first time in Malibu, California when Gretzky invited Ovechkin and his spouse to have meal with his family members. Ovechkin termed the experience “crazy” and a “specific moment.”
“It was great and I questioned him concerns simply because as a kid, you often want to know how it was back again then when he performed and what’s the big difference amongst this hockey and hockey back again then,” Ovechkin explained.
Gretzky still left the restaurant amazed with Ovechkin. The former Oiler explained he normally gets concerns about certain milestones and memories, but Ovechkin questioned Gretzky about what he desires to boost upon as a captain.
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Ovechkin achieved Gretzky prior to winning his very first Stanley Cup in 2018 as the Capitals were battling to go deep in the playoffs.
“The factor I identified so fascinating about Alex wasn’t so significantly about individualism, scoring targets, how do we come to be a better player but the full night time was about, ‘What can I do or what do I have to have to do as captain to assistance get our workforce around the hump? What can I do to contribute to winning a Stanley Cup for the Washington Capitals and the town of Washington,'” Gretzky explained. “I bear in mind leaving there considering, ‘Wow, this is so one of a kind.’
“We could have talked about anything, targets, assists, video games, memories and truly, Alex, the only factor he had on his mind was that, ‘I have to carry a Stanley Cup to the town of Washington,'” Gretzky recounted. “For me, that was just one of the great elements of the full evening. I understood then and there leaving the restaurant that just one working day he was going to carry the Stanley Cup.”
Ovechkin is an avid hockey adhere collector and he questioned Gretzky for just one of his at the meal. The 4-time Stanley Cup winner made a offer that he would mail him a adhere when he won the trophy.
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Gretzky explained Ovechkin by no means termed him about the adhere till he lifted the Cup. That is when the Capitals ahead commenced pestering the former Oiler regular monthly. His persistence ultimately paid off as Ovechkin been given the adhere Gretzky applied to score aim No. 807.
For the two workforce captains, their most effective hockey moment was lifting the Stanley Cup for the very first time. Gretzky explained it really is primarily meaningful to be the very first player to carry the legendary trophy.
“We were the two fortuitous to gain a whole lot of specific awards prior to we bought to that very first championship and that is all superb. I performed with a whole lot of great gamers, a whole lot of Corridor of Famers, just great people today,” Gretzky explained. “But that time you carry the Stanley Cup and make no miscalculation about it, there’s some thing so great about being the captain and receiving to carry it very first. This to me is the best, proudest moment as a hockey player and some thing I am going to by no means forget.
For Ovechkin, it was an arduous journey to get to the hockey pinnacle.
“To carry the Stanley Cup is likely the most effective moment in my hockey job. Clearly, it was a difficult time for a whole lot of my teammates who had been with me because working day just one and for the full firm,” Ovechkin explained. “That moment I will by no means forget, to share a cup with Backy (Nicklas Backstrom). It was a specific moment to see my family members, how pleased they were, all the lovers, the full firm, all the gamers. It was the most effective moment.”
To this working day, Ovechkin has not viewed the Cup-clinching Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights. When it re-airs on television, he’ll be tuned in.
“As quickly as Game 5 against Vegas is going to be on Television set, I am going to watch it. To be straightforward with you, I’ve by no means viewed a replay of that recreation so it will be exciting to see how I react,” the Capitals captain explained. “I am likely going to cry like I was on the ice.”
The two gamers have been intertwined additional than at any time as Ovechkin inches closer to Gretzky’s all-time NHL aim-scoring report. Ovechkin at present has 706 targets, though Gretzky sits atop the charts with 894.
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Gretzky made sure to mail Ovechkin a concept of encouragement as he was approaching the seven hundred-aim mark.
“I do not imagine people today know the microscope that you happen to be beneath. I noticed his coach in a press convention chatting about how significantly additional pressure there was, how several additional media people today, how several additional people today who were following the club and I comprehended that. I’ve been there and it really is a small little bit intestine-wrenching,” Gretzky explained. “You get a small restricted, you get a small little bit anxious and all I texted him was just ‘Relax, you happen to be going to get to seven hundred true fast and prior to you know it, you can be at 800.'”
Gretzky explained he watches practically just about every recreation Ovechkin plays in and he is been cheering and rooting him on as the Capitals winger approaches “The Good One’s” targets report.
When Gretzky broke Gordie Howe’s aim-scoring report, his father explained to him that when his report is broken, he hopes Gretzky displays as significantly course and dignity as Howe did when his marker was surpassed.
“I hope I did and I hope I am the very first dude to be capable to shake his (Ovechkin) hand when he does crack my report,” Gretzky explained. “I do not imagine you will find any question in my mind that he has a great probability to do that.
“I imagine it really is superb for Alex and his family members and I am rooting for him as difficult as anybody and I imagine it’ll be a superb working day for the recreation of hockey when he will get to the report.”
With the 2019-20 NHL period paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ovechkin has taken time to replicate on his job as he spends time with his family members.
“Clearly, appropriate now I have a whole lot of time to imagine about it. It can be great, great for the recreation, great for me, my teammates, it really is great for the Washington D.C. region to be capable to see that,” Ovechkin explained. “Appropriate now, I can not even know what I did all over my job simply because my job is not finished. To be eighth all-time on targets in the NHL, it really is specific.”
If Ovechkin breaks Gretzky’s aim-scoring report, the former Oiler will be waiting around for a adhere to get there from Ovechkin.
“I hope that I get just one of his sticks simply because I gave him just one of mine so perhaps we can do a pleasant trade.”