On January 10, 2008, Alex Ovechkin, the first overall pick of the 2004 NHL Draft, signed a 13-year, $124 million contract, becoming the first player in NHL history to receive a $100 million deal. While Ovechkin’s greatness and potential were unquestioned at the time, fans and analysts wondered if he would have the durability and consistency to live up to the deal. Spoiler alert: Why Yes. Yes, he did.
Monday, Ovechkin sat out against the Montreal Canadiens, serving a one-game suspension for skipping the All-Star Game. The missed game, according to a fantastic tweet by Capitals Radio’s Ben Raby, was the 31st time in his historic 15-year career Ovechkin has been sidelined. Further, Raby reported Ovechkin has only missed 17 out of a possible 1,164 games due to injury.
#ALLCAPS Alex Ovechkin will miss a game tonight for just the 31st time in his 15-year career
Of the 31 games he's missed, only 17 have been injury related (14 others for personal reasons, suspension, etc). No forward has played more mins than Ovi since '05. Remarkable durability
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) January 27, 2020
The Capitals’ Mike Vogel added that Ovechkin has played 371 out of the last 375 games. Three of the four games he missed were suspensions due to skipping hockey’s midseason classic and the other he intentionally sat out to rest of the playoffs.
Including tonight's game vs. Montreal, Alex Ovechkin will have played in 371 of the #Caps' last 375 games. He sat out finale of '15-16 – a rescheduled game from a snow out in Jan. of '16 – and each of the other three are one-game league suspensions for missing the All-Star Game.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) January 27, 2020
Since the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin has scored the most goals (692) – 238 more than the next closest player (Sidney Crosby). Ovechkin also has the most shots on goal (5,438), the third-most in NHL history, and the third-most hits (2,979), trailing only Dustin Brown and Cal Clutterbuck.
Ovechkin has played more minutes than any other forward (23,735:31, 24,580 shifts) since 2005-06, trailing only six defensemen (Ryan Suter, Duncan Keith, Jay Bouwmeester, Zdeno Chara, Dion Phaneuf, and Brent Seabrook).
Simply put, Ovechkin is one of the most durable players of all-time on top of being one of the best.
When we first created this website in December 2009, we thought the phrase Russian machine never breaks was a silly Ovechkin quote that would inspire our brand of reporting: personable, fun, and smart. Over a decade later, the phrase has new meaning for the actual player.
Headline photo: @Capitals
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