The Washington Capitals, riddled with injuries, lost Wednesday’s game in New York. Though a bunch of players missed the game due to injury, the most important guy was there.
Alex Ovechkin played in his 1,108th regular-season hockey game. His career has become special for reasons beyond his demented smile and his absurd goal totals. He is, simply put, the most durable hockey player in the world.
(There really should be a better way to say that. I’ll brainstorm some ideas.)
Since the 2005 lockout, Ovechkin has played in more games than all but two players: Patrick Marleau and Eric Staal.
|Player||Games Played||Average Time|
This is not just a counting stat. Ovechkin, now 34, also plays more minutes per game than any forward in the top ten. His time-on-ice has actually trended upwards since he turned 31. He’s currently above 21 minutes per game, currently ranking him in the top-10 among all forwards — despite being about a decade older than some of the other players in that group.
Ovechkin is obviously very busy in the games he plays. He plays a lot of minutes and is active in those minutes, consistently ranking near the top of the league in shot-attempt rate and overall shot-attempt volume. All that offense makes him a common target for hits, and yet Ovechkin has managed to stay healthy. Of the 1,138 games his team has played, he has missed just thirty, some of which were due to suspension.
Effectively, in his whole career, Ovechkin has played in more than 97 percent of possible games. In the last four seasons, his age-31 to age-34 seasons, Ovechkin has missed one game. He was suspended for skipping the all-star game.
I’m not sure how obvious it is that this is a special accomplishment. Your average full-time NHL forward in his 30s averages around 70 games per season. For whatever reasons, players at that age usually play in just 85 percent of games. Ovechkin’s at 99.
We spend a lot of time admiring Ovechkin for his goal-scoring, for his physicality, and for his enthusiasm, but it’s somehow underrated how resilient he is–
I’ve got it now:
Russian machine never breaks.
Yeah. That’s good. That should catch on.
This story would not be possible without Natural Stat Trick. Please consider joining RMNB in supporting NST on Patreon.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.