TORONTO -- Alex Ovechkin has ring envy.
The Washington Capitals forward joined teammates Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Orpik, Tom Wilson, Braden Holtby and coach Todd Reirden to present the Hockey Hall of Fame with an official 2018 Stanley Cup ring Wednesday. The ring is featured as part of a special collection celebrating current and past Stanley Cup champions.
Ovechkin loves the ring itself, and why not? It's made up of 14-karat, white-and-yellow gold set with diamonds, rubies and blue sapphires, bringing the weight to 10.2 carats.
But as he leaned over the display case containing the recent championship rings, he quickly noticed that the Capitals edition was surrounded by two belonging to the rival Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017), another two from the Los Angeles Kings (2012, 2014) and three from the Chicago Blackhawks (2010, 2013, 2015).
Ovechkin wants to win multiple rings too.
"I want to do that over and over again," said the Capitals captain, who helped Washington win its first championship last season. "The most important thing right now is winning. When I first came into the NHL, I wanted to win scoring titles. But now, it's winning the Cup."
The 33-year-old has proven to be good at both; he has led the NHL in goals seven times and is doing so again this season with 42 in 59 games.
The Capitals (33-20-7), who are 6-3-1 in their past 10 games, visit the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday (ESPN+, TVAS, TSN4, NBCSWA, NHL.TV). Washington is in second place in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Given the competition in the Eastern Conference -- the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Maple Leafs are ahead of Washington -- Ovechkin understands how difficult the job at hand will be to get back to the Stanley Cup Final, let alone win a second consecutive title.
"I think we all want to repeat," he said. "But it's going to be hard. We don't know what's going to happen. There's going to be ups and downs, but the most important thing is to stay focused and stay together.
"I'd rather have a short summer than a long summer. The most important part of the season is coming up for us now."
Ovechkin spent time before the ceremony admiring the displays of the storied players and teams of yesteryear, especially Russian greats like Vladislav Tretiak and Sergei Fedorov. It's a good bet he'll be enshrined one day too.
Ovechkin is 14th on the NHL goals list with 649, seven behind Brendan Shanahan for 13th. Only one of the 13 players ahead of him, Jaromir Jagr (third with 766), is not in the Hall, but almost certainly will be once he is eligible.
"It's neat to be in here but I don't think about that," Ovechkin said. "I'd just love to be back here again and donate another ring because it would mean we'd won another one."
Main photo courtesy: Steve Poirier/Hockey Hall of Fame