Washington Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin is just one goal shy of tying Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list with 731 career goals. For Dionne, he knows it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when.
“It’s happening,” said Dionne in a phone interview with the Toronto Sun this weekend. “It’s just a question of when. I made a video for him, congratulating him. I was wearing a Los Angeles Kings hat. I said to him ‘Look at my hat, it’s gold and purple, I want to remember who I was. And when you pass me, I’ll put on a Washington Capitals hat in your honour.’”
Dionne has been impressed by Ovechkin’s game, particularly during the Capitals run for the Stanley Cup. He says Ovechkin was a brute and appeared to be possessed.
“He’s got a weapon,” said Dionne of Ovechkin. “And he’s a one-dimensional player most the time. But when you watched him in the playoffs when Washington won the Cup, he was the guy. He did things, holy crap, I’ve never seen before. He was possessed. That’s how you win a Cup. He was a brute. He absolutely dominated the game physically and the team responded to him.”
Like many other hockey observers, Dionne is still perplexed by how Ovechkin continues to score on the power play. But he also realizes Ovechkin’s shot may be the only one of its kind in the history of the game.
“Here’s what I don’t understand. He plays the off-wing on the power play. I can’t believe all these smart coaches have not put a guy on him, take him out of the power play, and play them 4-on-3. Whatever it is, he still gets the puck, he’s open, and he’s so accurate. Bobby Hull had a weapon. Brett Hull had a weapon. I don’t know if anybody’s shot it the way Ovie has.”
In the end, Dionne believes that records are meant to be broken, and that it’s not only good for the game, it’s good for the fans.
“This is good for the game. When these things happen, especially now, it’s special. It’s for the fans. We sometimes forget that. Who do you write for? You don’t write for me, you write for the fans. The game is still fascinating and how the players are surviving in all this, I appreciate the effort and all that goes into it. These are frightening times. And we get to watch hockey. Every time I hear somebody complain about the teams are only playing each other over and over again, and it’s boring, I think, ‘what do you think happened in the Original Six?’ That was every season and we loved it.”
Ovechkin will look to tie Dionne in career goals scored this Thursday night when the Capitals visit the New York Islanders. Puck drop is set for just after 7:00 PM.
By Jon Sorensen