NHL Roundup: Gretzky says Ovechkin will break record, and Hellebuyck calls pause “overkill”

wayne gretzky alex ovechkin
February 7, 2020; Pebble Beach, California, USA; Wayne Gretzky acknowledges the crowd on the 13th hole during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament at Monterey Peninsula Country Club – Shore Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Ovechkin has plenty of doubters coming into the season about whether he could break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal mark of 894. One player that never had any thoughts otherwise was the Great One himself.

“It’s not even a question that he will pass me,” Gretzky said to the New York Times. “He’s well on his way to 40 or 50 goals this year, maybe more. There is no doubt that ultimately, he will break the record.”

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Gretzky says Ovechkin will break the record

The 36 year-old captain of the Washington Capitals is making a strong case to win his fourth Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. As of right now, Ovechkin is second in points with 47 in 30 games, two behind both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl (49). His 22 goals also rank second just one behind Draisaitl.

“I didn’t pay attention to all those bull**** talk,” Ovechkin said about his doubters. “You know, it’s good for them. Good for me. Whatever.”

Ovechkin has 752 career goals and ranks fourth behind Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801) and Jaromir Jagr (766). At his current pace, he could catch Jagr this season. He signed a 5 year deal before the season began, so he should have plenty of time to pass the Great One.

“What I found really nice was that he wasn’t asking me about scoring goals — he doesn’t need to ask anyone about that,” Gretzky said about a dinner he had with Alex five years ago. “He wanted to know about getting his team over the line to win the Stanley Cup. It was refreshing.”

Hellebuyck says pause was overkill

hellebuyck overkill
Nov 16, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) celebrates his win against Edmonton Oilers at the end of the third period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck caused a little controversy after the NHL announced a pause due to COVID-19. Over recent weeks the number of players going on COVID protocol was well over a 100, with close to 50 games needing to be rescheduled.

“I can’t speak for everyone, but the feeling for myself … it’s a little overkill,” Hellebuyck said this week. “You see leagues like the NFL, who are adapting and, I think, doing things right.”

The pause also meant the end to the NHL’s participation in the Olympics. They will use that time to reschedule games.

Hellebuyck, 28, is 11-9-4 this year with a .916 SV% and a 2.69 GAA.