Canadian media is already trying to protect Wayne Gretzky from Alex Ovechkin

Canadian media is already trying to protect Wayne Gretzky from Alex Ovechkin


Canadian hockey media apparently believe that Alex Ovechkin eclipsing Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record portends the apocalypse, and so are grasping at any possible excuse to marginalize his achievement. The end is probably nigh, sure, but not because of this.

Canadian hockey media apparently believe that Alex Ovechkin eclipsing Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record portends the apocalypse, and so are grasping at any possible excuse to marginalize his achievement. The end is probably nigh, sure, but not because of this.
Photo: Getty Images

Amazingly, what was a question before the season now seems a certainty. Alex Ovechkin is going to break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record. There was some worry or dispute as to whether Ovie could hold his simply ridiculous pace as he got deeper into his 30s. He pretty much dispelled that in the season’s opening week or two, and now has 20 goals in 28 games, good for second in the league. That puts him on pace for 58, and even if he can’t quite hold onto that rate, another 50-goal season seems pretty close to a lock. That would be his seventh.

So come the end of the season, it sure seems (barring injury) that Ovechkin will be somewhere around 100 goals short of Gretzky. It could take as little as two seasons for him to catch Gretz. It may take up to a fourth. But it’s going to happen.

It should, Ovechkin is the greatest scorer the league has ever seen, and we’ve been over and over the numbers that say why.

Even Gretzky himself has said Ovechkin is the better scorer and wants him to break the record. But you better believe that there are some members of the fourth estate in the Great White North, who will not let their precious son be knocked off the throne by some Russian without trying to discredit or defame Ovie’s accomplishment. How dare anyone sit atop the game’s singular accomplishment who has never ridden a dodgy bus to Swift Current! We must protect our precious game!

Which leads to utter horseshit like this:

The article itself actually gets worse, if you can believe it. As is the baffling tradition north of the 49th, Nick Faris finds some random old former player to drag out of the nearest barn or forest to spout off some gibberish before they pay him in Labatt’s and send him on his way, which isn’t in any particular direction. In this case it’s Randy Gregg, whom I definitely heard of before this. Gregg thinks Ovechkin’s overtime goals advantage, which somehow is worth discussing in itself, is due to Gretzky just being so gracious and a pass-first player and the Oilers also had, y’know, 63 other Hall of Fame players to use, as if that’s Ovie’s fault or something. The whole thing is, “Well, Gretzky could have scored more goals if he wanted to, but he was too nice!” Seriously, this is presented as, like, serious analysis.

Faris then wants to claim that because the Oilers blew so many teams out and wouldn’t get to overtime, that somehow his goals…are better? I’m guessing a puck going between the posts doesn’t know what the numbers on the clock are saying, but then again pucks might be more philosophical than I’m giving them credit for. Then Faris blathers on about Gretzky’s goals being more meaningful, as if a Tuesday night in January in fucking New Jersey wasn’t as much of a slog in 1987 as it is now.

This won’t be the last time you hear this. More and more writers will try and “qualify” Ovechkin’s record in any way they can so it doesn’t infringe on the game they remember that thankfully is gone forever. There’ll be no mention of the two full seasons that Ovechkin has lost to lockouts and the pandemic, which would have him on Gretzky’s ass today. Nor any mention that most of the goalies Gretzky was scoring on were refugees from the Smurf Village with all the balance and technique of a half-drunk wombat (which excludes the fact that most of those goalies were probably full-drunk).

Ovechkin has the best goals per game rate of anyone in history and he did it in an era where goals are far tougher to come by than anyone anywhere near him. Full stop. End of story. Go back to cottage and leave all of us in the logical world the fuck alone.



Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.