When Alex Ovechkin scored the 767th goal of his long NHL career on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, he surpassed Jaromir Jagr and moved into third place on the all-time list of NHL goals scored. As the fans erupted in celebration of Ovechkin’s score, his Washington Capitals teammates swarmed him and applauded him.
Chants of “Ovi! Ovi!” rang out throughout the building that has been his home stadium for almost two decades, and they also exploded during the Washington Capitals’ thrilling 8-round shootout triumph over the New York Islanders. The game was won by the Washington Capitals 4-3.
“I think everybody wants me to score that goal,” Ovechkin said of the forthcoming game. “Everyone involved in this major accomplishment. To be able to say I’ve been a part of this team for so long, especially with those guys, fills me with joy and thankfulness.
Ovechkin’s most recent goal, which he scored on Tuesday night, pushes him into third place all-time, trailing only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. It’s horrible that Alex’s wife and children had to stay in Russia, and it’s even worse that they couldn’t be present when Alex earned his greatest individual success thus far in his career.
“It’s been difficult,” says Ovechkin, “but we’re athletes, and we just have to do our job and zero in on what we’re best at,” and this has been a struggle. “We just play hockey and enjoy the time,” they explained.
Alex Ovechkin’s countryman, Evgeny Kuznetsov, won a faceoff with 4 minutes and 58 seconds remaining in the third period so that he could put the ball on the tape of his good friend Evgeny Kuznetsov’s stick. This was a pivotal moment for Ovechkin, and it will be remembered for a long time. To finally break the tie with Jaromir Jagr, Ovechkin had to defeat another of his good friends, Semyon Varlamov, the Islanders’ goaltender.
Even after Vladimir Putin and Russia invaded Ukraine a few weeks ago, the 36-year-old left winger, who is originally from Moscow, Russia, has not faced any opposition from supporters on the ice that is believed to be his home ice. On several instances during his journey across Western Canada, Ovechkin encountered hostile crowds. Alex received a standing ovation from Washington Capitals fans, who had cheered for him and chanted his name throughout his extraordinary 17-year career playing ice hockey in North America. During that time, people screamed his name and cheered for him.
“It sucks when my kids didn’t see it, my wife didn’t see it, and my parents, but they’re watching at home,” Ovechkin says. “The fact that they are happy is the most important thing,” we were told.
The next potentially noteworthy milestone for Ovechkin is scoring goal number 800, which only Gretzky and Howe have accomplished in the long history of the National Hockey League (NHL). Ovechkin must score 35 more goals to beat Howe, while Alex must score 128 more goals to break Gretzky’s NHL record of 894 career goals. Many people thought this record was unbreakable, however, it turns out that it can be broken.
“You never know what’s going to happen in the future,” Ovechkin continues, and he’s right. It’s hard to foretell what will happen the next day. I’m pleased I did it, and I’m glad we did it together. At this point, it’s only a matter of time, and if I can pull it off, I will.
Ovechkin scored this game-winning goal while Barry Trotz was on the opposing team’s bench and the Washington Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup banner hanging in the backdrop. After all, was said and done, Ovechkin has named the playoff Most Valuable Player, and Trotz was the head coach of the Washington Capitals when they won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
“The one thing I’ve learned about Ovi during my tenure is that when you doubt Ovi or say he can’t do it, he digs in,” Trotz said. This is something I’ve learntlearned about Ovi over the years. ” He does not back down and remains firm in his stance. And I believe that as time has passed, he has picked up on a somewhat different method of training. It’s truly wonderful.”
Ovechkin only needs three more goals to reach 40 for the current NHL season, which would be the 12th time in his long career. That would tie “The Great One” (Wayne Gretzky) for the most seasons with 40 goals scored in the lengthy and famous history of the National Hockey League.
“For the time being, he is merely a teammate and a friend,” Kuznetsov explains. “Even though he is so close to us, we never bring up the subject of (how he has) attained all of those milestones. I’m confident that when I retire, we’ll sit down somewhere and reflect on and remember some of those accomplishments. I’m hoping he’ll still be my friend.
In a video message of congratulations, Jaromir Jagr joked with Alexander Ovechkin that he should keep scoring goals because he hasn’t yet retired and may return to the NHL to break Ovechkin’s record. The remark was included in a pre-recorded video message given to Ovechkin.
“Keep scoring because, as you know, I didn’t retire from hockey yet, and there’s a chance I’ll come back to the NHL and start chasing you,” Jaromir Jagr, who is still playing for the Czech team he owns at the age of 50, urged Pavel Datsyuk. “Keep scoring, because there’s a chance I’ll be back in the NHL pursuing you.”
Ovechkin concluded that Jagr’s three seasons in Russia’s KHL barred him from advancing up the list any further. Despite missing playing time in the NHL due to two lockouts and the COVID – 19 epidemic, Alex’s goal-scoring accomplishment is even more outstanding and acknowledged as a result.
Ovechkin is now under contract until the age of 40, and at his current rate, he would only need to average 29 goals over the next four years to pass Gretzky before his current deal expires. Who knows whether he will opt to play beyond that on a new contract as he attempts to break one of the most elusive NHL records of all time?