In hockey, having the longevity to play for nearly two decades is a testament not only to good health but the ability to stay competitive. For Alex Ovechkin, his name is basically synonomous with the Washington Capitals and this past weekend the Caps’ leader marked a new milestone and recorded his permanent place in the NHL record books.
Ovechkin surpasses Mr. Hockey-Gordie Howe.
In a dramatic fashion, Alex Ovechkin passed Gordie Howe by scoring his 787th goal with the same team and of course Ovechkin did it with a flair for the dramatic on a power play goal against the Arizona Coyotes. Unfortunately, Ovechkin’s crowning achievement that night could not bring a Caps’ victory as they fell to the Coyotes 3-2.
Looking at Alex Ovechkin’s NHL career, it’s sometime hard to believe that he was the top draft pick all the way back in 2004. With the longevity of his career, the name Alex Ovechkin almos seems to represent this franchise and in many cases he does as a result of this new record. Gordie Howe is a legend with the Detroit Red Wings and took 1,687 games to score 786 goals. For Ovechkin, goal number 787 took only 1287 games, all with the Capitals. Ovechkin has received the Maurice Richard Trophy nine times in his career as the top seasonal goal scorer and his point productivity has been a key to his longevity.
To be truly fair to Gordie Howe, he later moved on to the World Hockey Association and joined his sons with both the Houston Aeros and New England Whalers. When the Whalers joined the NHL in the 1979-80 season, Howe returned and at the age of 51 scored 15 more goals. Alex Ovechkin is 37 years old and shows little signs of slowing down considerably and if he stays healthy, he’ll certainly add to that goal count.
For Caps’ fans, it’s hard to imagine this franchise without Alex Ovechkin and more than likely he will retire as a Capital. Wayne Gretzky, the “Great One” had a total of 894 career goals spanning numerous teams and maybe the final goal for Alex Ovechkin is to chase down that record with one team and we can only hope that if that record does fall, it falls while number Eight is still playing for the Washington Capitals.