Congrats Ovechkin on No. 500


Occasionally on this blog, we take time out to appreciate greatness. A night before, we saw some of it from Alex Ovechkin when he undressed Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh with a highlight reel goal in 3-on-3 overtime giving the league-leading Caps a 4-3 win over the Rangers. He also tallied on the power play giving him 498 and 499 entering tonight’s game against the Senators.

As only he can do, Ovechkin gave Caps fans a great show by scoring number 500 on the power play with what else but a rocket past Ottawa netminder Andrew Hammond with 3:41 left in the second period. The Great 8 becomes the 43rd member of the 500 Goal Club. He’s also the fifth fastest doing it in game number 801. Of course, he wasn’t done getting one more for good measure in a 7-1 home win over the Sens at Verizon Center.

It’s been a special year for Washington who now are a league best 32-7-3 with 67 points. They are way ahead of everyone else in the Metro. This post is about Ovechkin. A special player that comes around once in a lifetime. Ever since he was selected first overall by the Caps in the 2004 NHL Draft, he’s been a whirlwind of electricity. The greatest Russian born player to ever play hockey in the NHL. We are lucky to have him.

Ovechkin now leads the NHL with 26 goals passing Patrick Kane (25). At 30, he already has 501 goals. What if there hadn’t been a lockout shortened season in ’12-13? He got 32 in 48 games. How many more could he have reached? In become the first Russian to score 500 in the league, he’s also the fifth fastest player trailing Wayne Gretzky (575), Mario Lemieux (605), Mike Bossy (647) and Brett Hull (693). Ovechkin edged Phil Esposito (803) for fifth.

How many can he get? Ovechkin shows no signs of slowing down. A three-time Hart winner who’s won the Rocket Richard five times including the last three, Ovechkin is writing a Hollywood script. He’s never been past the second round in the playoffs. On a better team, that could finally change. Maybe this is the year he wins the Stanley Cup. There’s still a lot of season left. But the Caps are gonna be overwhelming favorites.

What I admire most about him is his passion. Ovechkin plays with a flair not seen. His enthusiasm is great for a sport that too often has star athletes who are more reserved. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little emotion when you score. There’s a reason why I own a classic Russian Ovi 8 in Russian lettering. Congrats to Ovechkin!

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About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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