Driver 8 take a break! Well if you’re going to skip out on the NHL All Star Break even after being elected a Captain for the Metro squad, do it in style. Alex Ovechkin has had himself quite the week. In three divisional games against the Hurricanes, Devils, and Islanders The Great 8 has 8 goals. Firmly back within striking distance of his coveted Rocket Richard trophy for best goal scorer each season.
This week alone Ovi has moved past Hall of Famers Teemu Selanne (684), Mario Lemieux (690), and has tied Steve Yzerman (692). With each goal seemingly reaffirming his greatness. Ovechkin is an other worldly 130 goals ahead of the next active player Patrick Marleau, who had an eight year head start beginning his career in 1997. So only one question remains, can The Great 8 catch “The Great One”? Currently 202 goals behind Wayne Gretzky’s career total of 894 for his career this is becoming a real conversation with every strike from Ovi’s office. Now as a Caps fan I’m not even going to begin to act impartial, Ovechkin is one of the biggest stars the NHL has ever seen and he’s been my favorite player since I was a Wizards intern his rookie year. But I believe he can do it. More importantly I believe he wants to do it. Bear with me though as we go through a few stats that will never be taken from Wayne Gretzky.
I’ll keep this to only goal scoring because it’s pertinent to the discussion. If we start talking points or assists we’ll get into crazy town numbers that are just laughable. One thing that will never EVER be questioned is Gretzky’s greatness.
– Most goals in a single season (92)
– Most goals through teams first 50 games (61)
– Most Hat Tricks in a season (10)
– Most goals in one period (4)
– Most Sixty goal seasons (5)
– Most Fifty goal seasons (9)
– Most Forty goal seasons (12)
– Most Hat Tricks (50)
Okay now that we have established how bad a man Wayne was, let’s put Ovechkin’s pursuit into prospective. First and foremost Ovechkin is scoring in an era where goalies not only have far bigger padding, but defenses are far superior. Second let’s also discuss Alex’s ability to score post age 30. Wayne from age 30 to his retirement at 38 scored 217 goals for the Kings, Blues, and Rangers. For perspective Alex Ovechkin in his age 34 season is currently sitting at 217 goals.
The key for Ovi in this pursuit will be hedging his bet. If he is able to rattle off a three year push this season and the following two, getting to the 800 goal plateau he might just be able to do it. Right now even though he might not be as fast as he was four years ago, he still has one of the hardest shots in the league to go along with the highest shot rate. He will need 26 goals in the second half of this season to reach the 60 goal mark. One he hasn’t hit since 2008 when he was a young 22 year old and infuriated many with the “Hot Stick” Celly (That I still love to this day) on his 60th goal. That number would get him to 718 for his career and 6th place all time. If he can score 82 goals in the following two seasons to join Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky as the only members of the 800 goal club. He would leave himself 94 shy of the record at age 36.
Still a long way to go, but if this week is any indication he still has gas left in the tank. Oh and one more thing “The Russian Machine Never Breaks”.