Ovechkin makes NHL history, scores 800th goal against Blackhawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The thought that anyone would smell a Wayne Gretzky record seems unthinkable, but Alex Ovechkin is knocking on the door of NHL history. And he did it again on Tuesday.
Ovechkin became the third player in league history to reach 800 goals after scoring a hat-trick. He scored two in the first period, including one 24 seconds into the game, and finished it off in the third period.
“It’s a large number,” Ovechkin said after a 7-3 win against the Blackhawks. “One of the best company I can ever imagine, since I started playing hockey to be with Gordie at 800, I’m the third person to ever score that too. Without my teammates, the organization, my fans, my family, I would never get that number.”
After Ovechkin scored, the Capitals emptied the dugout and the ice of the United Center was awash with hats. The crowd even chanted “Ovie! Ovie!” while congratulating the video card. It was a memorable moment that Chicago fans were able to appreciate as well.
“It was great, they chanted my name and threw hats,” Ovechkin said. “Even during the warm-up, I immediately felt that energy that the fans look at me and want to see that historic moment.”
Ovechkin is now one goal away from tying Gordie Howe’s 801 for second all-time and 94 away from tying Gretzky’s 894 for first. To think he’s two digits away now is unfathomable.
“It’s amazing,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. “There are a lot of Wayne Gretzky’s records that you never thought anyone would touch, especially the one in goals. So to see where he’s at, 800 goals, it’s hard to fathom, really.
“All the top scorers of our era, for as long as they’ve been in the league, Ovi has been the star, with Kaner, Sid or anyone else. There’s not many you can put in a couple of years later with his caliber, let alone more than 15 where he consistently scores 30, 40, 50 goals. He’s quite special to watch.”
Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson was actually in the building for Ovechkin’s NHL debut on October 5, 2005. He was playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets the night Ovechkin made his NHL debut.
“It’s impressive,” Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said. “I was in the first game he played. He had two goals, I was only for one though. I was on the bench for the other. That night, I remember he ran over a defender, scored two goals, they won 3-2, he’s been an impact player since Day 1 and still is, he’s pretty impressive and plays the same way.
“It’s an impressive thing. He’s motivated. I remember how excited he was when their team won and when he scored, but now I still see on video, when someone takes him away and the power play is smart enough to exploit it and they score, I see him cheering. It looks like he scored, and this is a great captain, a great teammate.”
At this point, it’s hard not to see Ovechkin catching Gretzky. It’s equally unfathomable to think that he’s only two digits away from overtaking it.
“I was a kid when I was obsessed with Wayne Gretzky and I remember he scored that goal, I mean it was against Vancouver, when he was bouncing on his skates and the whole world couldn’t believe Wayne Gretzky got past Gordie Howe,” he said Toews. “Now, Alex is going to do that too. It’s kind of interesting to think about that memory for myself and to think the level he’s at right now is kind of incredible.”
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