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Perhaps the biggest story hockey fans and the media have been closely following this season is Alex Ovechkin's quest to dethrone Wayne Gretzky for the NHL's all-time goals scored record.
Well, Ovi can scratch one more milestone off his list, as on Friday in a game against the Detroit Red Wings, the Washington Capitals captain scored his 275th career power-play goal, passing Hockey Hall of Famer, Dave Andreychuk for first place all-time. The goal came off of an assist from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom, en route to a 3-1 win over Detroit.
Coming into the 2021-22 season, everyone had their eye on the big story: will Ovechkin pass Gretzky for the all-time goal scoring crown? Ovi signed a 5-year, $47.5 million extension with the Capitals over the offseason, which gives him plenty of time to catch the record, but a big question mark surrounding Ovechkin is, will Father Time catch up to him?
Ovechkin is currently in his 17th season. The 36 year-old has played 1,230 NHL games over his illustrious career, all for the Washington Capitals. Well, the answer is no, time hasn't slowed Ovi down not one bit. The Great 8 is tied for first this season in goals scored (24) with Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl. He also sits in third in points with 50. If anything, Ovechkin is having arguably one of the best seasons of his career. Going into 2022, Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are sitting in first place in the Metropolitan Division, and tied for first in the whole league with 47 points. Ovi is not only making a strong bid for the Rocket Richard and Hart trophies, but we might even see him raise his second Stanley Cup by season's end.
Alex Ovechkin currently sits fourth in all-time goals scored with 754, behind Jaromir Jagr (766) Gordie Howe (801) and Wayne Gretzky (894)
With only 140 more goals to go, and four and a half season's left on his contract, will Ovechkin be the one to break Gretzky's record? The Great One himself thinks so.
Ovechkin was able to achieve all of this and most likely more, despite playing through two lockout shortened seasons and two COVID shortened seasons, making him truly one of the greatest to ever step on the ice, and he isn't even close to finished yet. Imagine how much farther ahead he would be if he had four extra full seasons to play.
I used to despise Ovechkin, as a teenager growing up in the mid 2010's, it seemed as if the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers met in the playoffs every year for the better half of 10 years, and although the Rangers won most of those playoff series' and were a huge thorn in the side of the Caps road to a Cup, Ovechkin and the Capitals did get the ever elusive Stanley Cup win first.
As I grow older though, I am thankful for what Ovechkin has done for the game. I appreciate his greatness, and I now respect him. I love the fact the ESPN+ broadcasts almost every NHL game every night, because I am always trying to catch Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby as often as possible. These two aging stars won't be around forever, and we need to cherish them while they're here.