Alex Ovechkin Racks Up Records
Last spring, I praised the talents of Alex Ovechkin when he sat at 6th all-time in scoring. At 730 goals in his career, I stated at the time that Ovi is the greatest goal-scorer of all time. I stand by that statement, and this week he has given everyone else a reason to agree.
Tying Brett Hull
On Monday, the Capitals hosted the Sabres at Capital One Arena. The crowd was anticipating a big milestone for Ovechkin: tying Brett Hull’s scoring record at 741. For a moment, it looked like he had done it on the opening goal of the game. In reality, the league’s favorite goal-scorer Tom Wilson got the tip-in and Ovi got the primary assist.
In the second period, there was another ‘did he or didn’t he’ moment when fellow Russian Dmitry Orlov fired a cannon from the blue line and Ovi, standing in front of the goal with his stick up, reacted as if he got a piece of it. Upon slow-motion replay, it’s more clear: Ovechkin had deflected the slapshot to tie Brett Hull at 741 goals.
Despite the rest of the hockey universe offering their congratulations, Brett’s son Jude decided to take to Twitter to “defend” his father. The clearly very mature 27-year-old Hull gave the goal three thumbs-down. He then doubled down when the backlash rolled in. Now, I don’t have personal experience having a parent with an NHL record, but anyone who knows anything about hockey is that even the greatest love to see players succeed. Brett himself praised him, saying, “He’s a great player.”
But sure, Jude, he needs defending.
Surpassing Brett Hull
Four days later, on Friday night in Columbus, he did it. Off a beautiful pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov, Ovechkin fired a snipe of a wrist shot from his office, rather than his patented one-timer. With that, Alex Ovechkin moved to 4th all-time on the lists of goal-scorers, passing Hull. While it wasn’t his signature goal, it fit into his pattern this season.
Once again showing his appreciation for Ovi’s talent, Brett Hull spoke in a video congratulating him. He asserted that Ovi had, indeed, earned his nickname of the Great 8 and that he wished him, “nothing but success.” (Sure, Jude, clearly he still needs defending.)
While Alex seemed happy to have achieved this new milestone, he was humble in his postgame statements. “When you start playing hockey, when you come to the NHL, you never thought you’d be in that position with those names,” he said.
The next player to pass is Jaromir Jagr, requiring another 24 goals just to tie. Previously, Ovi said he wasn’t going to talk about passing Jagr until he passed Hull. I guess now is the time to start. 25 goals in the next 60+ games is not at all out of the question for Alex Ovechkin, as his lowest scoring season was last year when he only scored 24 goals in 45 games.
As for how many he will score in his career, even Wayne Gretzky thinks Ovi has a good chance at passing his own 894 goals. “He’s got a legitimate shot. . . So he just has to be himself, go out there and play hard like he does every night.”
If the Great One is that optimistic about his chances, we’ll probably see Alex Ovechkin smash many more records this year and the next few years.
Image courtesy of Getty Images via CBS.com.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)
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