Alex Ovechkin made his NHL debut 15 years ago today on October 5, 2005. That night began the careers of two of the greatest hockey players of all-time: Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Since then, the superstars have combined to win four Stanley Cups (3, Crosby; 1, Ovechkin) and five Hart Trophies as league MVP (3, Ovechkin; 2, Crosby).
During Ovechkin’s first NHL game, he scored twice and broke the glass with a hit in Washington’s 3-2 win.
“I feel my dreams come true,” Ovechkin said after the game according to the Associated Press. “I play in the NHL. First game, we win.”
The Capitals tweeted the following video on Monday recapping that night.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 5, 2020
Ted Leonsis, feeling especially sentimental, tweeted a link to a WTOP story celebrating the milestone. “I remember it like it was yesterday,” Leonsis said.
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) October 5, 2020
Capitals assistant GM Ross Mahoney added in a recent interview that “I wasn’t in the building that night but I remember watching the game later. I think it was a good showing on his part. Obviously came in and showed a tremendous amount of confidence right off the bat for a young player. He was ready to come in and make a statement to everybody in the league.”
In a recent interview with the NHL, Ovechkin recapped his big first game.
“My first game against Columbus. We won the game 3-2,” Ovechkin said. “First shift I make a big hit. The kind of make a statement right away so, I’m here and the fans and the team want me.”
Ovechkin’s bodycheck on Suchy broke the plexiglass partition.
“He didn’t expect it,” Ovechkin said. “I was flying over there. I was young. I was crazy. When you have that strength in your body, I think you have to use it. Have to send a message.”
The message being, “Another one of those crazy Russians has [come] to the league.”
Ovechkin scored twice in a span of four minutes and thirty seconds in the second period. Maryland native Jeff Halpern, who recently won a Stanley Cup as an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning, assisted on both goals.
Via Hockey Reference
“Of course, it’s relief,” Ovechkin said of scoring his first NHL goal. “Of course, it’s something that you dream especially my parents there, my brother. It was pretty special.”
Looking back at that time in his career, Ovechkin admitted, “It was a little scary because no English, no friends.” If he could go back in time and give the younger version of himself a message, Ovechkin would say, “don’t sign 13-year contract. Sign 18 years.”
Ovechkin’s teammates struggled to take his outlandish personality seriously at first.
THIS DATE @Capitals HISTORY
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) October 5, 2020
15 years later, Ovechkin is considered one of the most consistent and durable players of all-time. He’s scored 706 goals in 1,152 games, nearing Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894, and has won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal-scorer nine times. Ovi’s the only player in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup, a Conn Smythe Trophy, a Calder Trophy, an Art Ross Trophy, a Hart Trophy, a Ted Lindsay Trophy, and a Maurice Richard Trophy.
Screenshot courtesy of @Capitals
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