In 2004 Alexander Ovechkin was drafted by The Washington Capitals as that year’s first overall pick. At that moment the franchise was renewed. During his first year in the league he tallied an incredible 52 goals and 54 assists for 106 points. That year a star was born in Washington, a town that is not your typical hockey town.
But something was still missing.
Two years later at the 2006 NHL draft, wearing his black and gold Capitals jersey, Alex Ovechkin would be the player to announce that Nicklas Backstrom was themteam’s first round pick. At the time Backstrom was the top-ranked European player and scouts were already comparing his skill level to elite players like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. After hearing his name called by Ovechkin, Backstrom called the moment “unbelievable,” and remembers thinking “maybe we can do it together,” according The Washington Post.
Over the last 12 years the two players have become an unstoppable duo. Regardless of whether or not they were playing on the same line, the two have always been the core of the team and responsible for helping lead this franchise to their first Stanley Cup Championship.
Since they have been in the league the two have amassed a ridiculous 1,947 points in 1,836 games played, or 1.06 points per game. But that’s not all, despite having played in the league for over a decade, they are still breaking records.
It’s clear that the Ovechkin and Backstrom duo are clearly worthy of being considered among the best hall of fame duos of all time, including Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr and Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.
In 13 seasons Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita combined for four Hart Trophies, seven scoring titles and a 1961 Stanley Cup Championship. So far Ovechkin and Backstrom have seven Rocket Richard scoring titles, all by Ovechkin (an NHL record), three Hart Trophies and one Stanley Cup Championship – and they still have the rest of this season to pad their stats before matching Hull and Mikita’s 13 seasons.
Speaking of Messier and Hull, Alex Ovechkin recently passed Mark Messier on the NHL’s all-time multi-goal games list with his 123rd career multi-goal game. He also passed Bobby Hull on the NHL’s all-time goals leader board this season – and could be on track to break the Great One’s career record.
And though he often shy’s away from the limelight, Backstrom is a record-breaker in his own right, though you might not know it because of his low-key media profile.
Less than two minutes into this season Backstrom reached the 800-point mark in his NHL career. He also recently became the 87th player in NHL history to record 600 assists, after already becoming the second-fastest Swedish-born player in NHL history to reach the 500-assist mark last season.
These two complimentary and historic players have worked together for over a decade spoiling Washington Capitals fans with some of the most exciting plays and dazzling moves seen in modern hockey.
And one day I’m certain these two will be regarded as one of the greatest duos in hockey history. Until then Washington fans will enjoy watching them play.
By Charlie DiPasquale