Alex Ovechkin became the highest-scoring Russian-born player in NHL history on Thursday night by scoring career goal number 484 to surpass Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov.
After tying Fedorov’s record on Nov. 7, Ovechkin uncharacteristically went four games without a goal before finally burying the milestone at home in Washington on Thursday. Interestingly, Ovechkin scored two goals that were disallowed after coaches challenges involving goalie interference and the play being offside, both on Justin Williams, before scoring on Thursday. “The Great Eight” took 777 games to complete the feat, while Fedorov took 1248 games to score 483 goals. With 912 career points at the age of 30, Ovechkin already belongs in the conversation for the best Russian player of all time, and he still has plenty of time to further solidify his legacy.
If Ovechkin scores his 500th goal this season, he will be the fifth-fastest player to do so in NHL history. Wayne Gretzky (575 games), Mario Lemieux (605), Mike Bossy (647) and Brett Hull (693) are the only players to score 500 goals in fewer than 700 games.
Obviously, Alex Ovechkin is one of the most electrifying players ever to play the game of hockey. To be mentioned in the same sentence as the goal scorers in the above list is special in its own right.
Ovechkin has accomplished just about everything in the sport:
- Lester B. Pearson Award/Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Player): 2008, 2009, 2010
- Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP): 2008, 2009, 2013
- Art Ross Trophy (Scoring Leader): 2008 (112 points)
- Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (Most Goals): 2008 (65 goals), 2009 (56 goals), 2013 (32 goals; lockout shortened), 2014 (51 goals), 2015 (53 goals)
- Calder Memorial Trophy (NHL Rookie of the Year): 2006
- Sixth player in NHL history to record 50+ Goals in at least 6 seasons
- Eighth player in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy at least three times (Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Clarke, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz)
These are just a few of The Great Eight’s many accomplishments in his illustrious career that will land him in the Hall of Fame, no doubt.
However, one of the most obvious omissions from the list is the Stanley Cup.
“I think he wishes, too, that we won the game, but obviously a huge accomplishment,” Ovechkin’s linemate, Nicklas Backstrom, said (Backstrom had the primary assist on Ovechkin’s record-setting goal). “I’m really happy for him. He’s a terrific player, and I enjoy watching him every day. He’s had such a big impact on the whole city of Washington and the team, how we’ve been going since he’s been here. It’s just amazing how he’s taken the whole team on his shoulders. It’s been fun so far but we still haven’t accomplished anything yet. Obviously, individual goals, but we haven’t accomplished the thing we want yet.”
It is clear that winning the Stanley Cup has become the main focus for Ovechkin and his teammates. Anyone who watched Ovechkin closely over the past few seasons knows that he is a player who has drastically changed the way he plays the game in the hopes of achieving his ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup. I hope Ovechkin does win a Stanley Cup, something that would be the ultimate stamp on a storied career; the Capitals are certainly looking like serious contenders so far this season.
Congratulations to the highest-scoring Russian ever, Alex Ovechkin!
Featured image credit: Alex Brandon-AP