On Saturday, Alex Ovechkin became the eighth player in NHL history to record 700 career goals.
Now, some are wondering if the Washington Capitals superstar will break the record set by Wayne Gretzky in 1999 — even “The Great One” himself.
But don’t worry. He seems totally cool with it, although the conversation (somehow) took him by surprise.
“I think that he’s got a legitimate chance,” Gretzky said Tuesday on Sportsnet, via the NHL. “I think it’s great for hockey. I was teasing my kids the other day, I said the funny thing about it is, if you talk to hockey people, nobody would say, ‘Well, Wayne Gretzky was a good goal scorer.’ They always put me in, ‘He’s a passer. He was a playmaker.’ So this is giving me a little attention that I’m not used to!
“But listen, I think it’s great,” he continued. “If he does get there and he does break my record, I said I’d be the first guy there to shake his hand.”
Gretzky was in Ovechkin’s position 31 years ago, so he knows a thing or two about what it’s like to surpass a legend. And back then, Gretzky’s father gave him a quality piece of advice.
“I remember when Gordie was following me around and I was breaking his record, I said to my dad one night, I said, ‘You know, I feel in some ways kind of bad. It’s Gordie Howe.’ And my dad said, ‘You know what? Somebody’s going to break your record. And when he does, make sure you’re as much a gentleman to him as Gordie Howe was to you. Smile, shake his hand, and you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished. And it’s better for the game,’ And that’s what I always think of.”