CHICAGO — Since they entered the NHL in 2005, Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals have battled each other for scoring titles, individual awards and postseason glory.
But as the generational talents enter their 17th season together, Crosby said he’s rooting for his rival to make hockey history and break Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky’s career scoring record of 894 goals.
“I hope he does. I told him today that I hope he does,” said Crosby, who was attending the NHL players media tour here with Ovechkin. “It would be awesome. He’s in range.”
Ovechkin, 35, enters the 2021-22 season with 730 goals in 1,197 career games. He signed a five-year contract extension with the Capitals in the offseason. Given his scoring averages, there’s a chance he could break the record in that span.
“I don’t even think about it right now, to be honest,” Ovechkin said this week. “Because it’s too far. It’s a long way. And it’s a hard way. Whatever happens, happens.”
Crosby, 34, believes the way Ovechkin scores his goals — relying on his shot rather than on his agility — gives him a chance to be productive late into his career.
“He can score anywhere from inside the blue line,” he said.
But Crosby’s enthusiasm for Ovechkin’s pursuit of Gretzky’s record has its limitations, as the Capitals and Penguins remain fierce rivals.
“I just hope that all his goals that he gets are against the other teams, as he’s trying to add towards it,” Crosby said.