With Alex Ovechkin scoring 800 goals, his excellence is unparalleled


This is perfect. So Ovi. Only two players in history had ever scored 800 goals. That Alex Ovechkin used a hat trick to get there? Cook kiss, please.

Of all the things we’ve learned about Alexander Ovechkin in the 18 years since he’s scored for the Washington Capitals, perhaps the most important is that he will choose the most dramatic path to reach the milestone that lies ahead. He went into Tuesday night’s Chicago game with three goals under 800. He faced the Blackhawks on the road and then had three straight home games. Get your tickets. Eight hundred had to pass at the corner of 7th Street and F Street.

Unless it happened Tuesday night. No. 798 came 24 seconds into Tuesday’s 7-3 win in Chicago. No. 799 came to a rebound eight minutes later. And #800 – think about it, 800! – came 6 minutes, 34 seconds into the third period when Evgeny Kuznetsov was buzzing around and Ovechkin was poised to pounce. If he did it once, he did it 800 times.

So what to expect at Capital One Arena — maybe Thursday night against Dallas, or Saturday night against Toronto, or certainly Monday night against Detroit — would be Ovechkin’s 801st goal, which would make Gordie Howe the second-most in an NHL career. That pre-Christmas stretch — which includes a short trip to Ottawa and then a home game on Dec. 23 against Winnipeg — could well include No. 802, which Ovechkin would leave only Wayne Gretzky’s 894 ahead of him. The achievements are like stocking fillers at this point.

Alex Ovechkin scores 800th NHL goal, one behind Gordie Howe

It says something about that moment and that achievement that, instead of regretting the moment, the fans at the United Center in Chicago chanted, “O-vi! O-vi! O-vi!” He’s Ted Williams and Michael Jordan and any historical character you want to bring into the conversation. There is no one who is inappropriate or out of place.

For some historical context, Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby joined the NHL in the 2005-06 post-lockout season. That’s not to say one is better than the other, because Crosby plays center and Ovechkin is a winger, and their jobs and responsibilities are different. Additionally, Crosby has struggled with concussions that have prevented him from playing regularly. They were held up against each other for a decade and a half. They are different players.

But Ovechkin’s 800th goal is an opportunity to compare his career to his peers. And the result is: there is nothing comparable. In 1,305 games since his debut, Ovechkin has scored those 800 goals. Of course, that’s the most among his peers. But it’s instructive to know that Crosby is second in that time. His record: 534 in 1,137 games.

Drink these sums. Crosby, an instant Hall of Famer who has won three Stanley Cups and two Hart Trophies as the league’s MVP, has averaged .47 goals per game — quite a lot. Ovechkin’s pace over the same period – that is, playing by the same rules under the same circumstances – is 0.61 goals per game.

If he plays two games in a row without scoring, that’s essentially an anomaly. Yes, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisatl and Tage Thompson will almost certainly end this season with more goals than Ovechkin. But it’s easy to bet that none of these players is 18 seasons into their career and scoring once every two nights. Not closed.

This has already been mentioned, but it’s worth repeating now. Gretzky was a marvel, and there’s no denying what he’s accomplished in his two-decade career. But it’s important to note that his career spanned from 1979-80 to 1998-99 in the NHL.

Included in this period: In no season since World War II have more goals per game been allowed than in 1981-82, when the average was 3.95. That year, Gretzky had an unimaginable 92 goals and 212 points. video game numbers.

The Capitals’ Screaming Eagle jersey is back in black for the reverse retro reboot

That was the style back then. According to hockey-reference.com, Ovechkin’s rookie year 2005–06 averaged 2.92 goals per game, next year 2.77, next year 2.61. The point: the goalkeepers were bigger and better and it was harder to score goals. Ovechkin still scored. In the last 20 years, the years when it was most difficult to score goals were 2015/16 (2.51 goals/game) and 2014/15 (2.52 goals/game). Those are Ovechkin’s ages of 30 and 29, respectively. In Gretzky’s corresponding seasons, the league averaged 3.56 and 3.35 goals conceded, respectively. In Ovechkin’s era it was much more difficult to score and he scored anyway. Over and over again.

It’s also important to note that these goals aren’t just empty filler. You are meaningful. These injury-plagued Capitals got off to a sad start. You’ve now won five in a row with Ovechkin driving you. The playoffs were an assumption in the Ovechkin era. They could become a reality again as he continues to score in his gray beard years.

The upcoming dates in the Capital One Arena should be filled with joy and anticipation. Ovechkin’s recent run – seven goals in his last four games – reminds us that anything is possible at any time. He scored early against Chicago. He scored again in the first third. And if he can smell it, he’s delivering – the third goal of hitting 800 in the third third.

We’re not done here yet. His next goal ties Howe. The goal after that remains only Gretzky. How to process everything? Alex Ovechkin has a flair for the dramatic and legendary. Every game counts.

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