There are many storylines that come from the pause on sports leagues due to the coronavirus pandemic. One is that some players are losing valuable time in their chase for milestones.
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin is one of those players. He’s two goals shy of reaching 50 on the season. That would be the ninth time he’s done that, tying an NHL record. He’s also 188 goals shy of matching Wayne Gretzky’s career mark of 894.
Now 34, Ovechkin isn’t getting any younger. If the NHL resumes by going straight to the playoffs, Ovechkin would miss out on his 50-goal season and lose valuable time chasing Gretzky as well. Ultimately, though, he’s not too concerned by this.
“Of course, you want to score 50,” Ovechkin said, via J.J. Regan of NBC Sports Washington. “But right now, like everyone is saying, the most important thing is be stay safe and to get this thing done. It sucks to not score 50 and to not get another milestone, but you have to think about your family, people and fans to be more safe. I’m pretty sure the sooner this is going to be over, the sooner we’re going to start back playing hockey. It’ll be nice to score again 50 goals or reach those milestones, but right now our mind is on just trying to be safe. It’s a scary situation.”
Ovechkin recently reached 700 career goals, and he likely does still have a few years left in him. He’s taking the right view on this — he’ll have his chances, but for now, public health is more important.
- Alex Ovechkin
Sports leagues have generally been following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, and as long as that continues, there won’t be sports in the U.S. for quite some time.
The CDC released new guidance Sunday night recommending that all in-person events consisting of more than 50 people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks. The earliest that guidance would end would be the week of May 9.
That suggests that sports will be on hold until at least the start of May. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA’s most optimistic scenarios don’t have the league resuming play until June.
CDC recommendation of no events of 50-plus people for next two months comes as a number of NBA owners and executives increasingly believe a best case scenario is a mid-to-late June return to play — with no fans. League's scouting for possible arena dates all the way thru August.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 15, 2020
The NFL would be impacted by this as well. Aside from the NFL Draft, OTAs and rookie minicamps would almost certainly be impacted.
Boxing matches would also be postponed.
CDC recommendation takes all major boxing events—including Canelo’s planned May 2nd date—out of play. Promoters have to decide: Find small, television friends venues or hope to reschedule and recoup the live gate.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) March 15, 2020
The NHL would be unable to resume under this order with or without fans, and MLB’s season would not start either. That is along the lines of what MLB is expecting.
Authorities have warned that the worst is yet to come. With that in mind, sports will likely be an afterthought for weeks and perhaps months to come.
These videos are the absolute best.
On Friday, the San Jose Sharks held their team photo day and used it as an opportunity to help make a young fan’s dream come true.
The team’s “Sharks Care” charity worked with Bay Area Make-A-Wish to have 16-year-old kidney transplant patient Selena Urban spend part of the day with the team. This video shows Sharks veteran Joe Thornton inviting the emotional Urban to come be a part of the team photo. Her reaction was wonderful.
First thing's first: joining in on the team photo!
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 6, 2020
Urban and her parents got to watch the team practice and she even spent time chatting with some of the players. She capped off the day with a ride on the Zamboni, and a shopping spree in the team store, according to the Mercury News.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 7, 2020
Thorton is also picking up Urban before the Sharks’ game on Saturday, at which she will be dropping the ceremonial puck. What a weekend for Urban to remember!
New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk left the ice in a panic on Tuesday night after taking a skate to the face, but fortunately he is expected to make a full recovery.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters on Wednesday that Boychuk suffered no damage to his eyeball, as the blade of the skate only cut his eyelid. It took 90 stitches to close the wound. Lamoriello noted that plastic surgeons use small stitches and said he doesn’t want to exaggerate, but 90 stitches is 90 stitches.
Boychuk Injury Update from Lou Lamoriello: “Johnny Boychuk is ok. Fortunately the skate blade just got the eyelid. It took 90 stitches for a plastic surgeon to fix. But he’ll be fine.” #Isles pic.twitter.com/vYfsx9MAYO
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 4, 2020
There’s no exact timetable for Boychuck’s return, but it’s clear the incident could have been a lot worse.
Boychuck appeared to shove Artturi Lehkonen in the back to keep the Montreal Canadiens forward away from Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov, causing Lehkonen to fall forward. Lehkonen’s leg went into the air and his skate hit Boychuck directly in the face. The video may be difficult for some to watch.
Johnny Boychuk rushes off the ice after taking Artturi Lehkonen's skate to the face. Very scary. pic.twitter.com/NwpIQAzznP
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) March 4, 2020
We have seen the type of horrifying damage a skate to the face can cause, and it’s great news that Boychuk avoided eye damage and is going to be fine. That could have been disastrous.
- Johnny Boychuk
The Washington Capitals are looking to load up for a Stanley Cup playoff run.
The Caps on Sunday acquired Ilya Kovalchuk in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens. The Caps are trading a 3rd-round pick in this year’s draft for the winger.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 24, 2020
Kovalchuk, 36, was the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NHL Draft. He has 22 points this season, including an assist on Saturday.
Montreal trading him is no surprise. He is set to be a free agent after the season, so the Canadiens wanted to get a return for him prior to the trade deadline.
The Caps will be Kovalchuk’s third team of the season. He began the season with the Kings but was dropped by them before Montreal picked him up.
Washington is third in the NHL in points this season, behind Boston and Tampa Bay.
The Carolina Hurricanes are riding a wave of popularity right now thanks to viral sensation David Ayres.
Ayres came into Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs as the emergency goalie, but was pressed into action after both of Carolina’s regular goalies got hurt. Ayers managed to get the win, and quickly became a sensation beyond the sports world.
The Hurricanes have wisely been taking full advantage. They’re already selling Ayres shirts, but in a cool twist, some of the proceeds will go toward an appropriate kidney foundation as a nod to Ayres’ status as a kidney transplant survivor.
Dave will be getting royalties, but we are also working with him to identify a kidney foundation that will receive a portion of the proceeds https://t.co/RwSNg12DA4
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 23, 2020
That’s not all. Ayres will be at the Hurricanes’ next home game Tuesday to sound the traditional pregame siren.
See you Tuesday, Davey!
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 23, 2020
Ayres has gone from an AHL zamboni driver to something of a celebrity after his eventful Saturday night. Hurricanes fans will certainly never forget it, and Ayres is going to get some viral fame out of this. Both sides might as well make the most of it, and it sure seems like they’re intent to do just that.
- David Ayres
Emergency goalie David Ayres made history on Saturday in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 6-3 win against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
Goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek got injured during Saturday’s game, leaving the Hurricanes to turn to David Ayres, a 42-year-old emergency backup goalie and kidney transplant survivor, who was making his NHL debut.
Ayres is a Zamboni driver for the AHL Toronto Marlies and stepped into the NHL game. Just to show how out of place he seemed, Ayres was wearing Leafs pants and a Marlies helmet.
The emergency backup goalie is in!
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) February 23, 2020
Ayres gave up two goals on the first three shots he faced in the second, but settled in to stop all six shots he faced in the third period. In total, Ayres stopped eight of 10 shots and became the first ever emergency backup goalie to win an NHL game.
Marlies' Zamboni driver David Ayres beats the Leafs as the emergency goalie for the Canes pic.twitter.com/u1OTcH74Ad
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 23, 2020
According to the Toronto Sun, Ayres has filled in at Maple Leafs practices for the past eight years and has been the emergency backup on call at Scotiabank Arena for the past three years.
For those wondering, a standard pay agreement would call for Ayres to make $500 and keep his game-worn jersey.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 23, 2020
We’re guessing some might step in to give him a win bonus for his great effort.
Ayres said in his postgame interview he was “shocked” to go in but loving it.
"It was awesome. Time of my life out there."
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 23, 2020
He was honored with the first star of the game.
Emergency backup goaltender David Ayres is first star of the game and gets an ovation from Leafs fans pic.twitter.com/5ARqtH1Re3
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 23, 2020