Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic joins The Kevin Sheehan Show to discuss Alex Ovechkin reaching 700 career goals and the Caps trading for Ilya Kovalchuk…

Just put in to a description what Alex Ovechkin is, all time as a goal scorer…

“I think Alex Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer of all time. I know it’s impossible to compare eras, but I’m old enough to have watched some of those other guys in the 700 club score goals and it was a different game back then. I’m not saying it was easier, but goal tending is completely different, defensive strategies are completely different. It is significantly harder to score goals now in the NHL then it was back when Wayne Gretzky was playing, back when Mike Bossy was playing, back when Mike Gartner was playing. I’ve talked to a number of these guys and they acknowledged the same thing. I think you could make the argument that no position in pro sports has change more over the years than goaltender in hockey. I’m not taking anything away from those guys, you played in your era, that’s when you were born right? You go back and look at some of those Wayne Gretzky goals and the goalie like waves his leg kind of half heartily at the puck and goers, ‘darn, I got beat again.’ You look at Ben Bishop now, 6’7″, with all that sophisticated light weight equipment on using those butterfly techniques and all of those other things where you can’t even see the net. There’s a defensemen in front of Bishop, there’s center in front of that defensemen, and there’s a winger in front of that center, so Alex Ovechkin is firing a puck through four humans wearing high tech equipment at a net he can barely see and he still has 700 of them. I don’t think there’s anyway, unless your’re just being a sentimental fool, you can’t possibly say he’s the greatest goal scorer of all time.”

What does Ilya Kovalchuk provide for the Capitals?

“Well you look at the way this Capitals line up was built at the outside of the season, they were hoping that Richard Panik was going to be a very productive steady player on the third line, and he hasn’t been that so far. In fact, he only has two goals and they both came in the same game in the last 20 games. He had some injury problems right off the bat which made it tough to get integrated in the the system and get comfortable and it still hasn’t happened. Ilya Kovalchuk is going to skate on that third line on the right side, it’s where he played in Montreal. So he’s going to have Ellar at center, Haglin whose gotten really hot as of late, six goals, six assist in his last 15 games, he’ll be the left wing. Ellar, has had a very good season, maybe one of the best seasons of his career. Now you got Kovalchuk on that third line…the top six is one of the best top sixes in the game. When you get into the payoffs a lot of times teams can focus on that top six and it gets harder for Alex Ovechkin, and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Nicklaus Backstrom and Jakub Vrana. Sometimes you need bigger production from that third and fourth line and they weren’t getting that right now and they were a little worried about that so they went out and got Kovalchuk. Look, he’s 36 years old and he’s going to be 37 in a month in a half, he’s not the Hart trophy candidate that he was back when he played for the Thrashers and the Devils, but he can still produce.”

Up next, the Caps host the Jets tomorrow and then visit Winnipeg on Thursday in a home-and-home series. 7:00p puck drop.

To hear anything you might’ve missed from Caps Insider Tarik El-Bashir on The Kevin Sheehan Show check it out in The Team 980 Audio Vault or on The Team 980 App.

Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir: “I Think Alex Ovechkin Is The Greatest Goal Scorer Of All Time”  was originally published on theteam980.com

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