With hockey in limbo, spare a quick thought for David Pastrnak and Auston Matthews, young dynamos and Atlantic Division foes who stood a realistic chance to accomplish what, judging by the NHL's entire post-lockout history, is usually unthinkable. Either could have pried the Rocket Richard Trophy away from Alex Ovechkin.
Matthews had scored 47 goals when the season stalled, already a significant career high for the 22-year-old Maple Leafs sniper. Pastrnak, a year older and a goal ahead in the race, was tied atop the league leaderboard with Ovechkin, who, it should be emphasized, wins this award with something resembling death-and-taxes certainty. He has topped the NHL in goals in six of the past seven seasons, and eight times in all.
The Capitals captain is inexorable, which is why Pastrnak and Matthews might bemoan this possibly lost opportunity to break his stranglehold - and why, if the rest of the regular season has to be nixed as part of the effort to repress the coronavirus in North America, fans might still nurse hope that Ovechkin has another such virtuosic year or three left in him.
It's inexact to characterize Ovechkin's age-34 season as a throwback performance, since he approximates this level of output almost every year. The 68 games he got in before the lull took hold were special. 2019-20 gave rise to the hottest scoring stretch of his career. Marvel at what Ovechkin did over seven consecutives games from Jan. 13 to Feb. 4, broken up by All-Star Weekend and the one-game suspension with which he was tagged for sitting out that extravaganza.