Alexander Ovechkin netted career goal No. 600 last night. Give Ovechkin credit. He’s the best goal-scorer of his era, and it’s a low-scoring era.
Seven 50-goal seasons in 13 campaigns – and that doesn’t include 32 goals in 48 games during 2012-13, which was shortened by lockout. Ovechkin has 42 goals in 69 games this season. He could again get 50 with a hard sprint to the finish.
Ovechkin might be the greatest goal-scorer ever. He’s right up there with hockey’s elite pure finishers like Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull and Mike Bossy.
Wayne Gretzky is the NHL’s all-time goal leader with 894. If Ovechkin continues to score at his current career pace of .606 goals per game, Gretzky could conceivably be caught in the 2023-24 season. But Ovechkin is 32, and his production will inevitably decelerate.
But Ovechkin is amazing whether he overtakes Gretzky or not. He’s a unique combination of power, speed and touch.
If Ovechkin had three Stanley Cups and Sidney Crosby had none, Ovechkin would be considered better than Crosby. But Crosby has three Cups, and didn’t win them by accident.
Make no mistake, Crosby > Ovechkin. But goal-scoring is the essence of hockey, and of the game’s enjoyment. Nobody goes to a hockey game hoping the puck doesn’t go in the net. Ovechkin is very entertaining and exciting.
Ovechkin deserves a Cup. But deserving and winning are different things. Massive respect whether he gets one or not.