Alfie, Kovie chase 1,000

DON BRENNAN, OQMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:08 PM ET

Time has not dampened the competitive fire inside either Daniel Alfredsson or Alex Kovalev.

Certainly not on the ice, where winning remains the most important goal for the two Senators right wingers as they enter their third decade (1990s, 2000s, 2010s) in the NHL. And not on the golf course, either, where the Swede and Russian occasionally butt heads with the team title at stake.

But while they do what they can to beat each other in the battle to shoot a low score, there is no such urgency in their chase for a high number.

None that they’re admitting to, anyway.

Between Alfredsson and Kovalev, there will be no wagering on the race to become the 75th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-point plateau — which should be decided in this season’s first month.

In fact, Kovalev hopes it ends in a tie.

“Like I mentioned before, when I came to this team, I don’t compete against our own guys,” he said. “I’m not going to compete with who gets there first, but I was kind of thinking the other day that it would be nice if we get 2-on-1 (goal), and both get (1,000 points) at the same time.”

For that to happen, it figures Kovalev will have to get off to a much quicker start than he did in  2009-10, his first campaign as a Senator.

Alfredsson, who has 992 points, picked up his eighth last season in the team’s seventh game, Oct. 17 in Montreal. Kovalev, who has 990 points, picked up his 10th last season exactly one month later, in the team’s 18th game, against Toronto.

“I think it will just happen when it happens, for both of us,” said Alfredsson. “I’m not looking at it as a race. I’m just going to try to put it in the back of my mind. I know it’s there but at the same time I’m not going to go chase it.

“The only thing I think I wish for is it happens at home.”

Alfredsson and Kovalev won’t necessarily be the only two NHLers to hit the 1,000 mark. There could/should be two others as San Jose’s Joe Thornton has 931 points and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla is at 920.

Going forward, the Senators duo has a chance to do some serious climbing up the all-time ladder.

Of the retired players, they are sure soon to pass Brian Propp (1,003), Lanny McDonald (1,006), Steve Larmer (1,012), Pat Lafontaine (1,013), Dale Hunter (1,020), Rod Gilbert (1,021) and Brian Bellows (1,022). 

Next in line is the New York Islanders’ Doug Weight, who sits in 67th place with 1,024 points.

After him, there are another four rungs (Brian Leetch, Alexander Mogilny, Bobby Smith, Henri Richard) to go before reaching another active player in Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, who has 1,046 points.

Alfredsson and Kovalev, who are currently Nos. 6 and 7 among active career scoring leaders, could be among the Top 60 on the all-time list before this season is over.

“It’s a lot of points,” Senators centre Jason Spezza said of his teammates’ bid to join the exclusive 1,000 Club. “It’s a great accomplishment for both of them. 

“To have two guys so close to it ... and then with (Sergei Gonchar) coming in on 1,000 games, it just shows the experience we have in our locker room.”

As he enters his 15th season, Alfredsson, who has played 1,002 games, has averaged a point every .990 outings. He picked up an assist in his very first game, against Buffalo Oct. 7, 1995, and scored his first goal six days later against Florida’s Mark Fitzpatrick.

“It’s not something that when I started, it was a milestone I had in mind, like, I wish I’d do that,” Alfredsson said of 1,000 points. “I never thought I’d play 1,000 games, or even close to that, so everything that comes along now is just a bonus.”

Kovalev, who is starting his 18th season, has picked up a point in every .806 games. The first time he put his name on a scoresheet was Oct. 10, 1992 — his first NHL game. He scored a goal against Hartford’s Sean Burke that night, and added his first assist nine days later.

“Definitely, it would be nice to get it with a goal instead of an assist,” Kovalev said of point No. 1,000. “I still feel like I just got to the NHL, and now I’m over 1,000 games and getting to the 1,000 points. Whatever happens in your career, the ups and downs, it’s still a good achievement. I’m still happy for what I achieved.”

Alfredsson agrees that 1,000 points has an impressive ring to it, but adds that “it’s just a number.”

A number that will be mentioned often as this Senators season kicks into gear.

“I think there will be (some talk about it) once we get closer to playing games, and they get closer,” said Spezza. “I think it’s one of those things where you just want to get it done as soon as possible, for both of them, and get it out of the way, so it doesn’t become a distraction or something that either of them are worried about.”

Let the race begin.


Videos

Photos