Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby favor NHL going directly into playoffs

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby prefers the NHL forego the rest of the regular season and head directly to the playoffs if games resume during this pandemic-interrupted spring.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is on the same page, saying he’d even be willing to finish two goals short of his ninth 50-goal season, which would tie the NHL record shared by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy.

“Of course, you want to score 50, but right now, like everyone is saying, the most important thing is to stay safe and to get this thing done,” Ovechkin said Thursday. “It (stinks) not to score 50 and to not get another milestone, but you have to think about your family, people and fans to be more safe.”

The two Metropolitan Division rival stars shared their views Thursday during a video conference call hosted by the league.

“I mean, you try to get in as many games as you can, I think. But I wouldn’t mind starting right in the playoffs,” said Crosby, whose Penguins were third in the division standings when the season was postponed on March 12.

Crosby acknowledged the more regular season games that can be squeezed in would be better for the integrity of the playoffs. Ovechkin agreed when he appeared on the video call later.

“For, me of course, the more games we play, it’s going to be better for our fans and it’s going to be better for teams fighting for the playoffs,” said Ovechkin, whose Capitals lead the division. “But I’d rather start the playoffs right away.”

Ovechkin then broke into a smile and said, “Sorry guys,” referring to the other three players on the video call. Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno didn’t take offense and said: “Don’t say sorry to me. We’re in a playoff spot.”

The calls featured representatives from each of the eight Metropolitan teams. Similar calls with players in the other three divisions will take place into next week.