A Man on a Mission: Ovechkin’s Quest for the Great One

Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

A Man on a Mission: Ovechkin’s Quest for the Great One

NHL

A Man on a Mission: Ovechkin’s Quest for the Great One

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Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

Let me preface this by saying I feel blessed to witness one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history while I’m alive, in real time.

Even at age 36, Alexander Ovechkin remains as the Russian Machine that Never Breaks. Elite is an understatement to describe what he is doing. Few in history have accomplished the level of record breaking scoring that Ovechkin is doing. No matter who the opponent is, no matter what the odds, Ovi will always find a way to bury the biscuit. He is one of the most efficient and most effective scorers in the history of the sport, so it’s for good reason many call Ovechkin “Alexander the Great” or “The Great 8.”

Although this is a shot chart from a few seasons ago, just looking at this picture can tell a thousand words. A few words can tell you that Ovechkin is lethal to borderline automatic from his office, sniping from atop the left circle at any situation in the ice. But besides his home, the Captain of the Washington Capitals can get the job done almost anywhere on the ice with amazing efficiency and effectiveness. 

Ovechkin currently sits atop many of the scoring categories in the league. He is second in goals with 12, third in scoring with 26 points, second in Shots on Goal with 66, and owns the second best plus-minus at a +14. He is the driving force of the current success of the Capitals and is one of the league’s biggest scoring threats. At the pace he is currently on, he is looking to have the best season of his career. The chart above has two axes, the left which is sPAR/60 standing for Standings Points Above Replacement per 60 minutes(basically how much a player contributes to a team’s success in the standings). The right is TOI/GP which is Time in Ice per Game Played, and the bottom shows each year since advanced stats were in 07-08. Since 07-08, Ovechkin hasn’t had a more successful season than the present. 

The Washington Capitals went up against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, Nov. 13, down one in the first period the Caps needed a goal. With 9:41 left in the period, Evgeni Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin get on a 2-on-1 into Columbus’ end. With a quick backhanded pass across the ice from Kuznetsov, Ovechkin whips a wicked wrist shot from atop the left circle to beat goaltender Jonas Korpisalo in the top left corner. The goal became his 742nd goal making history.

Continuing with historic success, Ovi continues  to climb the Goals Scored Leaderboard on the way to maybe beating Gretzky’s record. Ovi just recently climbed into the fourth All-Time slot with his 742nd goal to surpass the great Brett Hull. On the tear he is on, he has the potential to enter the third slot all time and surpass the legend Jaromir Jagr. 

hockeyreference.com

“The Great 8” only needs 25 goals to move ahead of Jagr, and needs 60 goals from his current marker to replace “Mr. Hockey” Geordie Howe to be the second All-Time Leading Goal Scorer. Truthfully, I’m blessed to be able to witness something so amazing in my lifetime in the sport of hockey. As shown in the chart below, it’s unimaginable and a major outlier in the sport to see someone at this age be so incredible at scoring to be in the hunt to even try and take a crack at a record of Wayne Gretzky. 

Over the course of his career, Ovechkin has been loved and hated by many. An electric forward with dazzling speed and a sniper’s accuracy, Ovi was a fan favorite. With him in the league, the sport gained so much popularity and hope for the folks in D.C. For a long time many respected Ovechkin’s talent, but was always overshadowed by his counterpart Sidney Crosby (another one of the greatest players of all time) and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Considered by many peers, analysts and fans to at one point never lift the Cup. Luckily for him, he got his first and the first for the Capitals in 2018. 

The amazing work he is doing on the ice right now can lead many to believe that the Caps still have a chance at a Cup with such talent. But everyone in hockey should be watching in awe as this man tries to do the unthinkable and take on such a feat. Do yourself a favor and watch this man’s highlights. If you have never done it, do it and watch the video below. If you have before, do it again you won’t regret it. Just see how highly his peers regard him in the game and just how much he means to them and the sport. I hope he really does beat Gretzky’s record and that’s coming from a Devils fan. (The team he scored his 700th career goal against.) Because if he does some day beat Gretzky’s record, you’ll remember all the goals that got him there. And you can say you were alive to see an All-Time Record shattered.

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