The Great Eight, Alex Ovechkin, Reaches 700 Career Goals

Usually, when athletes reach incredible career milestones, it feels as though their time is coming to an end.

A big achievement reminds us of how great a career the player had in his prime, which is what led up to that accomplishment in the first place.

With Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin scoring his 700th NHL goal on Feb. 22, there is plenty to look back on. The 34 year-old Russian has collected countless accolades over his 16 year career, including eight Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophies as the league’s leading goal scorer, three league MVPs, a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy. Ovi becoming the eighth player in NHL history to enter the 700 club seems like the perfect storybook ending to an illustrious career.

And yet, it would be absolutely foolish to say that this is the end. In fact, for Ovechkin, this is only the beginning.

The Great Eight, with a head full of greying hair, is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. He is averaging almost a point per game for the Capitals, and his 43 goals puts him third in the league.

There are only two other players in the top ten who are above the age of 25, and none are older than 28. Most importantly, he has captained the Washington Capitals to another impressive regular season under second year head coach Todd Reirden. The Caps currently sit in first place in the Metropolitan division.

Ovechkin’s sights are set on another Stanley Cup, something that eluded him for so long in his career until 2018, when the Caps went on a spirited run under now-Islanders head coach Barry Trotz to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights in five games. The greatest trophy to win in all of sports became Ovechkin’s greatest career obstacle yet greatest career triumph. After countless strong regular seasons followed by several gut-wrenching early playoff exits, Ovi’s only career appearance past the second round of the playoffs saw him carry his team to win it all. It was the monkey that Ovechkin finally got off his back, and it cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players in the history of hockey. This season, another Cup for Ovechkin seems like a very realistic goal.

The core of the Capitals team that won the Cup two seasons ago has remained intact and is producing at a very high level.

American defenseman John Carlson leads all NHL defensemen with 72 points, which is 12 more points than second-place Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, and makes Carlson a frontrunner for the Norris Trophy as the league’s best D-man.

Centers Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov are still putting up points up the middle, despite both missing time with injury. American winger T.J. Oshie is second on the team with 25 goals.

In goal, Braden Holtby has been joined by Russian national Ilya Samsonov to form a strong pairing in goal. The pieces are in place for Ovechkin and the Caps to capture their second Stanley Cup. And in order to achieve this, Ovechkin will look to continue putting pucks to the back of the net like he has 700 hundred times before.

What is truly scary about Ovechkin’s goal-scoring prowess is the number of ways he can produce. Often, he lines up on his weak side at the top of the circle on the powerplay and unleashes a one-time slapshot the likes of which has never been seen before. The opposing netminder knows where the shot is coming from and where it is going, but still has no chance of stopping it. Other times, he uses his great speed and power to score highlight-reel goals while crashing the net. Still, his quick wrister and snapper are lethal, and his underrated hand-eye coordination allows him to score all sorts of goals around the net.

Alexander Ovechkin is the definition of a legendary goal-scorer. And what is even scarier is that his goal-scoring days are certainly far from over.