Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan AGREED with ‘Great Eight’ Alex Ovechkin’s claim that he and Sidney Crosby ‘saved the NHL’

While Alex Ovechkin’s claim of saving the league has swept the internet with controversy, one former player has backed up the claim. But what does the NHL great Wayne Gretzky say about this?


Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan AGREED with ‘Great Eight’ Alex Ovechkin’s claim that he and Sidney Crosby ‘saved the NHL’

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin [Image Credit: HockeyFeed]

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recently claimed that he and Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain, saved the league during the 2004-05 lockout season. His claim earned him severe backlash on social media, while some supported his statement.

The hockey community was divided into two when the news became viral all over social platforms. Among them, one of the former player and current Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan supported Alex Ovechkin’s claim stating, “We banked a lot on them.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Shanahan was one of the key members to end the 2004 lockout season, and he said that the two players did end up bringing the ritz in as “fans wanted hockey back.” He lamented that although they had to lose a season, they brought back “new rules” to make the game appear more attractive to the fans, advisers, and everybody. 

“That’s where Sid and Alex came in. It wasn’t explicitly said, ‘Hey you guys go save the league.’ But well, that was the hope. And it became obvious really fast they could.”
Brendan Shanahan according to Hockey Feed.

What does the NHL legend Wayne Gretzky think of Alex Ovechkin’s statement?

Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are undoubtedly some of the best hockey players in the world. Not only did they pocket records and accolades, but both of them re-shaped the hockey world. Following their draft in 2004 and 2005, they have swept the league, creating milestones, and even surpassing Wayne Gretzky’s record in a few aspects.

Both of them set 100-plus points in their rookie years, building up entertaining rivalry in one of the world’s greatest stages. Recently, the ‘Great Eight’ once again stirred the pot, stating, “We saved the NHL” during an interview with The Athletic’s Rob Rossi.

ADVERTISEMENT
Wayne Gretzky and Alex Ovechkin [Image Credit: Ventura County Star/Bleacher Report]
Wayne Gretzky and Alex Ovechkin [Image Credit: Ventura County Star/Bleacher Report]

Ovechkin further challenged the new generation by saying to rack up records and “prove me wrong that we’re not the best.” His bold statement shook up the NHL world once again, as fans started debating how much of it was true. 

But what does the NHL legend Wayne Gretzky think of this situation? Although ‘The Great One’ did not comment on Ovie’s recent claim, he did once say that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin did a great job in carrying the game.

During Mount Rushmore talk, Gretzky said that he has “bragged about Sidney Crosby for 20 years now” praising him that he has “done such a great job” in “carrying our sport. Both him and Ovechkin.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Gretzky confidently stated that “Sid deserves to be there (Mount Rushmore” for everything he’s done in the years. Pointing out to Crosby’s joining the Penguins, he said, “he helped save that franchise.” Prior to Crosby’s joining, the Penguins weren’t a powerhouse like today, but Crosby pulled up the organization on his own, “he saved the franchise, basically.”

On the other hand, looking at Ovechkin’s record, he’s the one closest to surpassing Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record. Although his performance failed to impress the 2023-24 crowd as of now, the fans are speculating that within 2-3 years, he will surpass Gretzky. 

Regardless of any claims or statements, both players are still holding onto their spots despite being 35+. From time to time, they both surprise the fans with unreal shots and carry dreamlike records pursued by the NHL’s young generation.

ADVERTISEMENT

In case you missed:

Was this article helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!