Ovechkin and Gartner Receive Top 100 Honor

img_2238

The stars were all on hand, but not the type that would initially come to mind when you’re at an awards show in Hollywood. This was no Grammys or Oscars. Instead it was the stars of hockey, both past and present, celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the NHL. The event Friday night took place at the Microsoft Theatre.

There have been over 7,500 players to have played the game of hockey at the highest level. That’s what made this night special. Being selected for the Top 100 players in NHL history is a huge accomplishment. Both current and future Hall of Famers, and players from your generation and mine shared the same stage.

On January 1st, during the NHL Centennial Classic, the NHL announced the first 33 members of this elite group, those that played during the first 50 years of the NHL. Four of those living players were in attendance. The rest were all in the house.

Then it was on to naming the rest of the players last night. Mike Gartner and Alex Ovechkin were the Capitals representatives that were recognized on this special night. Other players who spent time with the Caps who made the cut included Sergei Fedorov, Scott Stevens, Adam Oates, and Jaromir Jagr.

Players were announced by decade. Mike Gartner was in the 1980’s category among wingers. Gartner spent his first 10 seasons in the NHL with the Capitals, after being drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He scored 35 or more goals in each of his first nine seasons with the Capitals, and recorded 789 points (397 goals and 392 assists) in 758 games with Washington. He is third in franchise history in goals scored, points, game-winning goals, and power play goals.

Mike Gartner was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. He holds the NHL record for the most 30-goal seasons, with 17, and is tied for first in most consecutive 30-goal seasons with 15. He spent 19 seasons in the NHL and he notched 708 regular season goals, good for 7th all-time. He played in 1,432 games.

Gartner became the fourth player in Capitals history to have his number retired when his #11 was raised to the rafters of Verizon Center on Dec. 28, 2008.

Alex Ovechkin has been one of the most exciting players this era has seen, and fans in this area should be proud to have a guy like this to root for, and to see play on a regular basis. As impressive as the highlight-reel goals and accomplishments are, perhaps the most important impact Ovechkin has made is off the ice. He helped turn the DC area from a football to a hockey town. Night after night, Verizon Center is filled to capacity. Youth hockey participation numbers have also increased.

Ovechkin has recorded 1,011 points in 888 games with the Capitals. He ranks first in franchise history in points, goals (548), power play goals (204), shots (4,416), game-winning goals (94), overtime goals (19), power-play points (204), multi-goal games (111), and multi-point games (291). Ovechkin earned his 1,000th career point on January 11, against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Last season, Ovechkin scored his 500th career goal on January 10 against the Ottawa Senators.

Ovechkin came onto the scene in the 2005-06 season, after being drafted by the Capitals first overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Even though he made his debut in 2005, he leads all players in power play points since 2003-04, goals since 2000-01, game-winning goals since 1999-00, shots since 1998-99, power play goals since 1997-98, hat tricks since 1996-97 with 16, multi-goal games since 1995-96 and overtime goals since 1993-94.

Scott Stevens was drafted by Washington fifth overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. The defenseman spent eight years with the Capitals, playing in 601 games and recording 98 goals, 331 assists and 429 points. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

Stevens was paired on a blueline that included Hall of Famers Larry Murphy and Rod Langway. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues before the 1990-91 season, spending one year there before spending the rest of his career with the New Jersey Devils, where he helped guide them to three Stanley Cups.

Adam Oates came to Washington in a blockbuster trade from the Boston Bruins on March 1, 1997. He helped the Capitals the following year by being a key piece in their first, and so far, only trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998. Oates led the NHL in assists during the 2000-01 season and again the following year at ages 38 and 39.

Jaromir Jagr, currently with the Florida Panthers, was also recognized. He spent two and a half seasons of his long NHL career in Washington. Jagr was acquired by the Capitals from the Penguins in a trade back in July of 2001. While with the Caps, he scored a total of 83 goals, 118 assists, and 201 points before being traded to the New York Rangers during the 2003-04 season. Jagr, along with Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Jonathan Toews were the six active players to make the list.

Sergei Fedorov joined the team at the trade deadline of the 2007-08 season. He won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, including in 1998 over the Capitals. Fedorov will always be remembered in DC for his game-winning goal in Game 7 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, that saw the Caps rally from a 3-1 series deficit to stun the Rangers.

By Michael Marzzacco

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
This entry was posted in News, NHL and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ovechkin and Gartner Receive Top 100 Honor

  1. Pingback: Despite His Impressive Overall Numbers, Ovechkin is Struggling More than You Think | NoVa Caps

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s