On Saturday night, the Washington Capitals played the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night In Canada. In the run-up to the game, Sportnet’s Steve Dangle took on the controversial topic of Alex Ovechkin and if Ovi’s accomplishments mean anything without a Cup.
The short answer is YES with multiple loud exclamation points.
Prepare your ear drums for some more brilliant hockey yelling from Mr. Dangle (who is amazingly wearing RMNB’s 8-bit hot stick shirt).
What’s the hardest thing to do in today’s NHL? Seems to me the obvious answer is to score goals, which is kind of important in hockey. They’re talking about Oh we gotta make the nets bigger, shrink goalie equipment just to get goals up. But Alex Ovechkin doesn’t care about ANY of that. I loved Ovechkin’s hat trick the other night because it was just a nice reminder.
Early in the season lots of people get off to hot starts and we go Oooh wow and about two months in is when the regulars go Hi, I’m still here. And Ovechkin’s hat trick was just a reminder that he’s not just an NHL star, he’s not even just a generational talent. He is a hockey legend. Scoring goals is the hardest thing to do in the current NHL and last season Alex Ovechkin was the best at it and the season before that, and the season before that, AND THE SEASON BEFORE THAT. Ovechkin has four straight Rocket Richard trophies and three straight 50 goal seasons and the only reason he doesn’t have four straight 50 goal seasons is because of the lockout. And by the way, if that season was 82 games instead of 48 Ovechkin was on pace to score 54 goals. Oh and by the way, with 12 goals in 19 games so far Ovechkin is on pace to pass 50 again. Ovechkin has 537 career goals. HE’S 31, like a fresh 31 too. He turned it in September!
Alright, so Ovechkin can score goals, that doesn’t make him a legend’ Really? He’s already 32nd in goal scoring EVER. If Ovechkin scores 30 more goals this season, which knowing him might be conservative, he will pass Mats Sundin for 22nd all time. It’s likely that by the end of next season, Ovechkin will become just the 20th player to ever score 600 goals. Even if he slows down it’s likely that by the time Ovechkin’s contract expires, four seasons after this one, 700 goals will be in his rearview mirror. And by the way he would only be the 8th player to ever do that. Then after that? It’s up to him! If Ovechkin decides to keep going and he doesn’t like turn into a bum or something, he could pass Mike Gartner, Phil Esposito, Marcel Dionne, Brett Hull, Jaromir Jagr- if he ever decides to stop playing. Even Gordie Howe. You’re nuts, Gordie Howe scored 800 goals! Yeah and to reach that, all Ovechkin would have to do is average about 30 goals a season for the next eight seasons. And before you roll your eyes, remember you’re not talking about a regular human being, you’re talking about ALEXANDER OVECHKIN.
Ovechkin retires today, he is in the hockey hall of fame. Your two options there are agree or be wrong. Eric Lindros made it in to this year’s hall of fame class with 372 goals and 865 points. Once again, Ovechkin has 537 goals right now and he’s 18 points shy of 1000. To make the hall of fame, if you score 500 goals you’re almost a lock. If you score 600 goals you are definitely a lock, unless you’re Dave Andreychuk for some reason (640 goals, put him in the Hall, what are you doing???).
Okay, my thesis is Alex Ovechkin is really good at scoring goals, legendarily good. Does he get that many assists? No. Is he great defensively? Well he was a minus 35 a couple years ago. HE WAS A PLUS 21 LAST YEAR, NO ONE GAVE HIM A COOKIE. Does he have a Stanley Cup? No, but neither does Marcel Dionne if you’re going to keep moving the goal post. So we can spend the rest of his career hummin and hawwin about his backchecking or when he celebrates like his stick is on fire. Or we can actually enjoy sports, sit back, watch and just say wow.
If only all human yelling could be that rational.
Dangle also cut a video recap of the Caps/Leafs game for his hockey blog Leafs Nation, which is also a must watch.
Transcription by Elyse Bailey.
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