Fourteen years ago, Alex Ovechkin scored one of the greatest and most improbable goals of all time. On January 16, 2006, Ovechkin slipped the puck past Pheonix Coyotes goaltender Brian Boucher on his backhand as he was falling and corkscrewing on the ice. Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky looked on from the bench stunned. The goal was the most brilliant tally of Ovechkin’s Calder Trophy-winning rookie season where he became only the second rookie ever to score 50 goals and 100 points.
Sportsnet recently caught up with Shane Doan, Brian Boucher, and several others who were there to relive the goal.
“The goal Alex Ovechkin scored on me in Phoenix was sensational,” Brian Boucher said. “It was just a goal that you couldn’t believe it was humanly possible for him to pull that off.
“It was a 5-1 lead for the Capitals in that game and he came down the right side, my left side. I was out and so aggressive because I knew how good a shot he had. This is a man who scored so many big goals in his career and so many highlight goals. I think even he was in a state of bewilderment. I don’t think he could believe what he just saw… Almost like a gasp in the crowd when they watched the replay.”
Darren Pang, who was the Coyotes’ color commentator at the time, “absolutely couldn’t believe it. I remember looking right over towards Wayne on the Coyotes bench to my right. I remember the look on his face was just like ‘Did that really happen?’”
“That goal was over the top,” Shane Doan added. “The distance that he covered from one side of the ice was really impressive. And poor Brian Boucher was trying to follow, lost it, and it was just one of those goals that you couldn’t believe it went in.
“The whole arena was kind of stunned at first and didn’t really know how to react because it was such an amazing thing,” Doan said. “You didn’t really appreciate it until you saw the replay.”
Ovechkin also didn’t believe the puck went in.
“I didn’t see the puck go in because I was on my back,” Ovechkin said. “I had to look if I didn’t hit the boards or get injured, so I look up and I see [Boyd Gordon] and [Brendan Witt] came to me and start like, celebrate, so I have to go and see and look what happened, how I did it.”
“For that moment, it was just an unbelievable time,” Ovechkin continued. “My dream was come true. I was playing in the NHL, I did kind of a special goal and Gretzky was there as well.”
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