Alex Ovechkin received another honor on Sunday.
The Capitals captain was named the best hockey player ever to wear the number eight by the NHL. Ovechkin received 17 of 19 votes from NHL writers to earn the distinction.
— NHL (@NHL) June 28, 2020
Ovechkin has scored 706 goals in 1,152 games and has won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal-scorer nine times. He’s also the only player in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup, a Conn Smythe, a Calder, an Art Ross, a Hart, a Ted Lindsay, and a Maurice Richard Trophy.
Now, this is the paragraph where I remind you that Ovi isn’t retired yet and received the accolade over several Hall of Fame players who actually are.
“I’ve enjoyed watching Alex play the game since he arrived in the National Hockey League. I’ve really enjoyed watching him play over the last five or six years, including his Stanley Cup championship with the Washington Capitals,” NBC analyst and former Capitals player Keith Jones said. “The power game. He seems to be tireless. He continues to power through opposition defenders who try to slow him down. The shot is phenomenal. It looks like you’d be able to figure it out on how to defend him. Nobody can. He finds unique ways to score and he finds the same way to score. He continues to blast away and in my eyes, is the best to ever wear number eight and it’s not an easy number.
“Cam Neely was one of my favorite players to watch play the game. Powerful, much like Ovechkin. Shot like Ovechkin. Did not have the longevity of Ovechkin. So Ovechkin gets the nod for me.”
Stanley Cup-winning general manager Brian Burke agreed.
“If Cam Neely was here, I wouldn’t admit I was picking someone else. I’m with Jonesy. It’s Alex Ovechkin,” Burke said. “Keep in mind, he’s hot on the trail for the all-time record despite two lockouts and a pause. This is the guy that lost a whole year and half another year and 12 games this year. And he’s still in the hunt for the all-time goals record. He’s physical. He’s been a great blessing for our league. This guy’s a showman. People pay to watch Alex Ovechkin.
“Honorable mention to Cam Neely who was a marvelous player and tougher than a night in jail. Teemu Selanne, who I had in Anaheim. Won a Cup with him. Great player. Very similar career to Alex Ovechkin’s, where he had great individual success, but no team success til about the 14th year of his career, almost like Alex. And then Drew Doughty. We’ll talk about him in more glowing terms more down the road. He’s not in this class yet.”
Teemu Selanne was the only other No. 8 player, other than Ovechkin, to get first-place votes. Selanne scored 684 goals in 1,451 games. Selanne won the Calder Trophy (1993), the Maurice Richard Trophy (1999), the Bill Masterton Trophy (2006), and the Stanley Cup (2007).
There have been a lot of great players to wear eight, but Alex Ovechkin’s 15 seasons so far are unrivaled in the NHL and in Washington.
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Every player to wear #8 on the #ALLCAPS – D: Murray Anderson 1975 D: Gord Smith 1976 D: Don McLean 1976 D: Larry Bolonchuk 1977 RW: Bill Riley 1977-1979 C: Rick Bragnalo 1979 LW: Dave Forbes 1979 LW: Nelson Burton 1979 RW/C: Mark Lofthouse 1980-1981 D: Greg Theberge 1981 D: Jay Johnston 1981 C: Tim Tookey 1982 D: Lee Norwood 1982-1983 D: Larry Murphy 1984-1989 D: Bob Rouse 1989-1991 D: Ken Sabourin 1991 LW/C: Dmitri Khristich 1992-2002 RW: Richard Zednik 1996 C: Jan Bulis 1998-2001 LW: Josh Green 2003 D: Steve Eminger 2004 LW: Alex Ovechkin 2006-2020 (soon to be retired)
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Screenshot courtesy of NHL
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