washington capitals legend Alex Ovechkin is still one of the National Hockey League’s premier goal scorers. As he closes in on one of the most historic goalscoring landmarks on offer, the future Hall of Famer took time to reflect.
Ovechkin currently sits with 797 goals, scoring his latest against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. He needs three to get to 800 career goals, entering territory only seen by two others in NHL history.
One is Wayne Gretzky, widely regarded in hockey circles as the greatest to ever lace their skates. “The Great One” paces every player in history with 894 career goals.
The other is the man known as “Mr. Hockey.” Gordie Howe played the majority of his long and historic career with the Detroit Red Wings, scoring 801 total goals in a career spanning multiple decades.
Ovechkin will soon pass Howe in goals, a feat the Russian superstar considers to be “special.” Howe was on the Capitals forward’s mind on Monday when speaking to reporters.
“Obviously, he’s Mr. Hockey, but when you’re growing up, we didn’t have internet,” Ovechkin said. “It was hard for us to understand how big of a name it is. But as soon as you came here, you just hear stories about Gordie Howe almost every day because he is legendary and his status as a player. Obviously, he was the best player out there.”
The Capitals forward remembered the time he met Howe. During the 2009 All-Star Game, Mr. Hockey and Ovechkin spoke about hockey sticks and took a picture together. The autographed picture is present in the Washington dressing room. Howe passed away in June 2016 at the age of 88.
“It was a great memory,” Ovechkin said. “I still have the picture. He signed it for me. It’s probably one of the greatest things to happen in my life getting meet those legends and those players.”
Ovechkin’s next chance to add to his goalscoring account comes Tuesday. The Capitals travel to Chicago to take on the struggling Blackhawks.