Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby focused on winning one more Stanley Cup
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby both played their first NHL game in the 2005-06 season despite being drafted a year apart (Ovechkin 2004 and Crosby in 2005). Because of that, they were always going to be tied to one another for their on ice accomplishments.
Playing in the same division only heightens those comparisons, and each has lived up to the hype.
It’s been 17 years since they started their careers and despite all the personal accolades the real goal remains the same– win another Stanley Cup.
Alex Ovechkin wants one more Cup
Ovechkin, 37, recorded 50 goals and 90 points in 77 games last season after finding the fountain of youth. Can he post another 50 goal season and add to his current totals?
Heading into this upcoming season, Ovechkin has 780 career goals needs just 22 more to pass Gordie Howe for second all-time. And while he won’t catch Wayne Gretzky’s 894 goals this year, Ovechkin can put a sizable dent with a big campaign.
Historic goal chases aside, Ovi is focused on team success.
“I’m at the age that personal goals are nice, but we understand every year [you get closer] to the end of your career,” Ovechkin said last week. “So I just want to win. I want to be in the playoffs and fight for the Cup.”
The superstar represented himself in negotiations two summers ago and signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract extension with the Washington Capitals. The deal carries a cap hit of $9.5 million next season, which extends through the 2025-26 campaign.
That should give him plenty of time to catch Wayne. For now, he’s looking to help the Caps get an early jump in the standings.
“That first 20 games is very important so you have to get points, so if you’re going to have some ups and downs during the season you still have those points,” Ovechkin added. “You don’t want to play only six months. You want to play eight months and play for the Cup.”
Sidney Crosby looking for Cup number four
The Penguins have put all their eggs into one basket and hope it pays off with one more Cup for Sidney Crosby and his friends. Because if it doesn’t this year or the year after, it will hurt even more when the dark days hit in Pittsburgh.
By opting to bring back aging vets Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin on multiple-year deals, the Pens will find themselves with players nearing 40 years of age with big cap hits very soon.
While it’s a nice to have the band back together, the moves were about stocking up for a title.
“It’s not about, necessarily, the Cinderella story,” Crosby said at training camp Friday. “It’s about winning hockey games. I think those guys play a big part in that. Hopefully we can all, collectively as a group, do our part and help the team win.”NHL.com
Crosby, 35, is entering his 18th NHL season in 2022-23. Last season, he compiled 84 points in just 69 games to add to his career totals of 1,409 regular season points in 1,108 contests. That’s good for 21st all-time in NHL scoring. Just 59 more points this upcoming season and he will leap frog over Stan Mikita for 15th all-time.
When his career is over, which could be in three years by his own admission, he can look back at those personal accomplishments. For now, he’s still upset about how his Penguins blew a 3-1 series lead to the Rangers in the playoffs.
“You’ve got to learn from it. We feel like we didn’t close out the Rangers and probably left a sour taste,” he said. “Everyone has a chance to start fresh and learn from that and be better for it.”
The Penguins and Capitals will be in for a fight just to make the playoffs with the aforementioned Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes expected to battle it out for first place.
With the New York Islanders expected to get back in the postseason picture after an injury plagued year, and the Columbus Blue Jackets much improved after signing Johnny Gaudreau, both Crosby and Ovechkin will need to continue the superstar play everyone expects of them to stay in the race.