Bruce Boudreau is well aware of Alex Ovechkin’s scoring ability.
As the Washington Capitals’ coach from 2007 to 2011, Boudreau saw Ovechkin’s prime up close, including his 65-goal campaign in 2007-08.
Now the coach of the Vancouver Canucks, Boudreau told reporters before his team’s matinee matchup against the Capitals on Sunday that he is convinced Ovechkin will break Wayne Gretzky’s career goals record.
“He’s going to play until he does break it, I can tell you that much,” Boudreau said.
He added that Ovechkin is in the category of NHL greats such as Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and Gretzky because of “his will and the want to do it.” Ovechkin has 756 career goals — 10 behind Jaromir Jagr for third on the all-time list and 138 behind “The Great One.”
“He can be stopped on an individual night, but he’s as good as anybody I’ve been around,” Boudreau continued. “And that’s what tells me he’s going to break records.”
Boudreau also compared the 36-year-old to the superhero Hulk.
“You have got to get in his face. It’s not a question of hitting him, because the more you do, he’s like the Hulk and gets stronger the angrier he gets,” Boudreau said.
On Sunday, Boudreau’s Canucks got the best of Ovechkin’s Capitals with a 4-2 victory. Despite the loss, Ovechkin scored the game’s first goal, and it was a sight Boudreau was far too familiar with. Since he was fired from Washington during the 2011-12 season, Boudreau has coached against Ovechkin 12 times. In those games, Ovechkin has nine goals and nine assists.
“He was looking right at me, and I said, ‘No more,’” Boudreau said. “He has a tendency if he played against me every day, he’d probably have 110 goals a year. … He marvels me at his age and how he can do this game in, game out.”