Alex Ovechkin has racked up numerous milestones throughout his career. From 600 goals to 1,100 points. On this Easter Sunday in Pittsburgh, Alex Ovechkin will play in his 1,000th game with the Washington Capitals becoming the first player in franchise history to reach the 1,000 game milestone while donning the Capitals sweater. He’ll be the 57th player in NHL history to play 1,000 games with the same team and the 54th to play his first 1,000 career games with the same franchise.
The first in franchise history to play 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ games with the Washington Capitals is the man we call Alexander the #Gr8.
More on the Milestone: https://t.co/cQsOglncMs#OV1000 #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/lbJx0oN839
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 1, 2018
Drafted in 2004 at the number one overall pick, Ovechkin is the first player in the 2004 draft class to reach this milestone. In large part, it’s been due to his durability on the ice. He’s only missed a total of 29 games in his entire 13-year career, 17 due to injury, and has never gone a stretch where he’s missed more than six games in a season.
“I was lucky I didn’t get hurt and was able to play in so many games, and 1,000 games with one organization is pretty cool,” Ovechkn told reporters after Thursday’s practice.
Ever since making his debut in the 2005-06 season, he leads the NHL with 603 goals, 1,118 points, 227 power play goals, 434 power play points, 101 game-winning goals and 4,875 shots. What’s even more impressive with those numbers is that Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals since the 1998-99 season and shots since 1994-95 despite starting his career in 2005.
“Back then we didn’t have lots of success as a team but we had one of the best locker rooms I’ve ever been in. They guys were unbelievable to everybody. We had jokes, we knew we were not gonna make the playoffs since like maybe game 20 because we didn’t have that record but we tried to play for ourselves and tried our best for enjoyment and to have fun,” Ovechkin recalled from his rookie season.
Ovechkin was also asked in that scrum about how special it is to reach the 1,000-game milestone.
“It’s a special moment, you know, 1,000 games for one organization. It’s pretty cool and I’m gonna be the first guy to do it in Washington. I hope Nicky someday will do the same or Kuzy, but Kuzy’s still young. He’s played maybe like 10 games? (laughs) But he acts like he’s an 1,000 game player,” said Ovechkin.
There’s two more milestones that Ovechkin looks to add to his resume this season. He needs five goals over these final four regular season games to reach the 50-goal mark. If he were to reach that he would join NHL greats Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky as the only players with eight 50-goal seasons.
The other milestone won’t be on as tight of a deadline but it’s the biggest milestone of them all. For this to happen, Ovechkin needs to continue to show that he hasn’t aged. He needs to be a mentor to the new young guns and he needs to lead. This milestone is the one that every hockey player dreams about: lifting a Stanley Cup over their head. Tonight in Pittsburgh won’t necessarily be a playoff game but it could be prelude to something bigger in one month’s time.
By Michael Marzacco