In hockey there are no friends or enemies. On the ice there are only teammates and rivals. Alexander Ovechkin knows this truth very well. And he’s ready to “eliminate” any hockey player wearing a non-Washington jersey.
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This was felt well by former Capitals player Brett Connolly. The Canadian played side by side with Ovechkin for three years, from 2016 to 2019. They won the Stanley Cup together in 2018. But in the new team’s first game, Florida, Brett was reminded that there were no friends on the court. Of course Ovi did.
“I remember the first time we played against Washington. Ovechkin could, if he wanted, force me to the third row. He caught me in a bad position, he just sneaked up on me, and Ovi is a really big guy, he never did that. It wouldn’t be great to play him in a playoff series, for sure,” Connolly says.
Photo: Marusca Rezzonico/ZUMA/TASS
This happened at the beginning of November 2019. The Canadian striker then knocked on the doors of “Washington”. But Ovechkin scored twice and also had an assist. And Tom Wilson’s goal in extra time brought the “capital” victory – 5:4.
“Connolly’s comments can certainly cheer up the hundreds, if not thousands, of players the Big Eight have bested in their NHL careers. After all, Ovechkin is the fourth most hitter of all time with 3,471 hits in his 18 years in the league,” writes Bijan Todd, a writer for NBC Sports Washington.
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Connolly himself spent last season in Switzerland, playing for local side Lugano. The Canadian fondly remembers the days when he played with Ovechkin. And, of course, he closely follows the Russian’s goalscoring trajectory.
“Of course, I follow him, like the rest of the hockey world. Ovi was very kind to me, we had a good relationship. We get along really good. He just keeps chasing the record, I’m not surprised at all. Everyone tunes in, everyone follows. It’s great to see him continue to rise. [по таблице лучших снайперов] and it just doesn’t stop. It’s amazing to see this. I support him, as do all the guys who played with him,” Connolly continues.
Photo: Pascal Muller/ZUMA/TASS
Everyone is waiting for Ovi to break the record that was considered eternal. The Great Wayne Gretzky’s record is 894 goals in the NHL. Ovechkin is only 72 goals away with 822 goals.
Connolly himself took part in the sniper achievements of the captain of the “Washington”. Brett helped Ovechkin five times. It should be noted that Ovi himself gave the Canadian five assists.
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“I will continue to watch, I will continue to pursue. I won’t say anything, I don’t want to curse anything, I won’t take it on myself (laughs). But I’ll keep looking. I imagine what will happen next. I don’t think it will slow down. He is an amazing player, I am very lucky to have met him, played with him and of course won with him. It is a great honor for me”, says the Canadian.
“It’s easy to say that Ovechkin is a great player. But trying to pinpoint exactly what makes it so great can be a more difficult task. However, with the tools that he has at his disposal and that he shows off in every game, there is a lot to choose from,” Todd muses.
Connolly doesn’t back down. However, for him, the answer is obvious: “Ovechkin’s throwing is the main aspect that makes him so deadly. The best shot ever. But the hunger for him in every game can even exceed that ”.
Photo: Nick Wass/AP Photo/TASS
The Canadian, speaking of Ovechkin’s “hunger”, also recalls Washington’s legendary 2018 Stanley Cup run: “Even during our playoff run, when we won the trophy, he was a beast. It was wild to watch him play, guys just took him.” They kept going. Ovi is a very motivated guy when it comes to scoring goals and he’s the best at it. He plays hard, a physically strong guy. It’s hard to move him when he’s in the gate. Wide man. But Ovi is also a great player, so It’s great to see him keep scoring.”
The 37-year-old Ovechkin’s scoring prowess didn’t help Washington last season. The Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2013/2014 season.
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Connolly is grateful not to have been knocked out to the third row in his debut against Ovechkin: “Oh yeah, I’m grateful. Especially when you consider that this was the first game after winning the playoffs together. I think I had a free ticket to the bleachers that night.”