Subban: Ovi catching Gretzky ‘would be great for the game’

After the NHL hosted a video conference call with Metropolitan Division players Sidney CrosbyClaude GirouxJordan Staal, and Marc Staal answering questions from the media, they hosted a call with other Metropolitan Division players -- Alex OvechkinPK SubbanAnders Lee, and Nick Foligno -- doing the same.

Ovechkin remains in Washington with his son Sergei and pregnant wife Nastya, and said that things are getting "kinda boring" in the second week of the league's shutdown.

Subban is in Los Angeles with his fiancee, former Olympic ski racer Lindsey Vonn, and said that he's mostly been "laying low" and working out from home.

Lee is spending this time on Long Island with his wife Grace and their newborn daughter, and that he ordered a Peloton stationary bike to try to stay in shape.

Foligno is in Columbus with his wife Janelle and their three children. He said that to stay in shape you have to take on an old-school "Rocky mentality" and do things like pushups and sit ups, but he's also been able to do things like workouts over video chats with a trainer.

The four players were asked how the rest of the season should play out.

"It's hard," Ovechkin said. "We don't know when this is going to end. I think we have 13 games left until the playoffs, I don't know how many you guys have. For us, it's better if the playoffs start right now, right? We don't want to play extra games. But different guy are fighting for a playoff spot. And we're still fighting for a playoff spot. For me, the more games we play the better it is for our fans and the better it is for teams fighting for the playoffs. But I'd rather start off playoffs right away. Sorry, guys."

Foligno said that Ovechkin didn't have to apologize to him, since the Blue Jackets currently occupy a playoff spot.

Subban, whose Devils are 13 points out of a playoff spot, chimed in with his thoughts.

"The pesky Devils aren't even in a playoff spot," he said. "We're making a push. I'm just happy that if we do play, we don't play Washington anymore. Ovi's not getting anymore goals against us this year. I did like the idea that was floating around of a 31-team playoff format. I like that, giving us an opportunity to get in the playoffs and play some meaningful hockey down the stretch. For us, I don't even know, right? I could be working out for no reason. I don't know. I'd like to pay some more hockey, we're starting to turn it on."

Lee's Islanders are just one point behind the Blue Jackets for the final wild card spot with two games in hand.

"For us, it was a welcome break," he said. "We were going through a little bit of a tough stretch. I don't think it was welcome in the sense that we wanted it, I just think if we do come back we're just geared up and ready to roll, ready to figure this out whether its finishing the regular season or hopping right into the playoffs, playing games, all those things. The format's going to be what it is."

Ovechkin is tied with David Pastrnak for the league-lead in goals this season with 48, just two shy of the 50-goal mark. With 706 career goals, he's also two shy of tying Mike Gartner for seventh all-time on the league's goal-scoring list and is chasing Wayne Gretzky's record of 894 goals.

"My mind right now is not about 50 goals or catching The Great One," Ovechkin said. "My mind right now is to do the best I can do and my family can do too to be safe."

The other three players on the call were asked about Ovechkin making a run for Gretzky's record.

"Can Ovi catch The Great One in goals?" Subban said. "Well, I'm confident that if we play another 13 games this season, and Ovi plays, that Ovi can get another 20 goals in that time. That's a lot of goals but I think he can do it. You're not playing us anymore, so I think you can do it. Can he catch him? I think if he did catch Wayne, it would be great for the game. We see it in other sports, we see what Lebron (James) is doing in basketball, we've seen what Tom Brady has done, I think in hockey we see it as the years go by that these legends, Hall of Famers are getting older. We need to have people currently that you can touch and watch and talk to and see that are setting milestones as well. I think it's great for the game. ... He scored 700 against us. I'm sick and tired of seeing it. But it's good for the game."

Foligno and Lee agreed with Subban.

"Ovi, you haven't given us any reason to doubt that," Lee said. "It's been fun to watch and fun to see you continue year after year. Obviously, divisional games, it's not fun. Any milestone goals the rest of the way, just not against the Isles, brother."

Ovechkin asked for the subject to be changed, so the interviewer recycled a question from the first Metropolitan Division call, and asked the players what they miss the least about playing against the other guys on the call.

Foligno went first.

"PK, what drives me nuts is I can't predict which way you're going to go," he said. "Your quick feet drive me insane in the corners. I never know which way you're going to go, it's always hard to forecheck you, you've done a good job your whole career of that. And obviously you have an absolute bomb from the point. ... Lee, I think the way you lead that team as well, I think you always respect the guys that play the right way for their team and I think you embody a lot of what your team stands for. ... And Ovi, I just can't stand how you just stand in that one damn spot and just score all those goals. It drives me crazy. You've done a great job for that team obviously. I love the passion you play with."

The interviewer said that this wasn't supposed to be a "mutual admiration society" and said he wanted to know what the guys do that drive opposing players nuts. Ovechkin jumped in to answer.

"I don't like to play against PK because he always does some slashes," he said. "Yeah. He always tries to talk to refs, I don't like it. I always tell him, 'Stop slashing me in the hands,' because it drives me crazy. But it's his style of game to get under the skin of players. Anders and Nick, you always play hard against our line. You use your body, use your strength, it's hard to play against you, especially when we play against Columbus in the playoffs. It was a hard series."

Lee volunteered to answer next.

"I don't run into many guys and almost get the wind knocked out of me like when Ovi steps into me," he said. "I don't like that very much. The mutual respect I have for all three of you, it's impressive, we're all different players. Going out to the point on PK is always tough, trying to figure out left, right, whatever he's going to do. Nick, your leadership, the way you play, I appreciate that a lot. I find a lot of similarities between us."

Subban closed it out.

"You three guys are all captains," he said. "I'm the only defenseman on the call. A lot of times I have your assignments. One thing I can't stand about all three of you guys is I know I'm going to have to bring it for a full 60 minutes. You guys are all leaders on the team, and I think that's what separates you from a lot of guys around the league. Obviously Ovi scores goals, Nick, you do it all, Lee, you do it all as well. Your ability to lead, it sucks playing against you because you can't take a shift off."

The interviewer then asked each player if they could only watch one television show and listen to one album in quarantine what they would watch and listen to.

Ovechkin said he'd watch "Deal or No Deal," which resulted in big laughs from the rest of the players. For an album, he said anything by Eminem.

Lee said he'd watch the Apple TV+ show "The Morning Show" and listen to Kenny Rogers since he recently passed away.

Foligno chose "Entourage" for his television show, and a live Garth Brooks album for his music.

Subban chose the new hit Netflix show "Tiger King," and everyone else piped up and said Subban can't share any spoilers because they're all in the middle of watching it.

The full call can be seen here:

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