10 Years of Ovi!

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As Alex Ovechkin turns 30 today, Caps fans look forward to his return to the ice and a shot at redemption for the early playoff exits of years prior. However, we decided to open the year with a rundown of 10 of his many great moments for his tenth NHL season. This is by no means a finite or complete list. It also only points out his on-ice accomplishments. It is always subject to change, and likely will knowing that Ovi has many more years in him. With that, let me try to start the countdown.

Editors note: To watch videos of the goals, click the name of the goal.

First an honorable mention: Alex Ovechkin becomes first Capital to have three 50 goal seasons. Resulting in this classic celebration.  This solidified his goal scoring abilities and of what was and is still to come.

#10: His first game, his first goal

This seems pretty obvious, but it has to go on here. On a line that featured Jeff Halpern and Dainus Zubrus, both assisting on the goal, Alex Ovechkin scored the first of what now stands at 475 career regular season goals with 36 more in the playoffs. He scored thanks to some piss poor defense from the Columbus Blue Jackets; they left him wide open… in the slot. Watch the video to the end to hear a younger Wes Johnson announce the goal to a rowdy MCI Center.

#9: Single-handed Duck Hunter, Ovi’s first Hat Trick

In a 3-2 OT win against the Anaheim Ducks, Alex Ovechkin provided all of Washington’s offense. This was against not just any goalie, but Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who would go on to win 30 games that year. Giguere and the Ducks would win the Stanley Cup the next year.

#8: Ranger Down! Ranger DOWN! Ovi with the GWG

If nothing else, listen to Jim Hughson call the goal. Great voice. Back to Ovi, it’s a bit different from his normal “right off the draw fire and SCOAR!!!))))” Instead of shooting immediately, he circles with the puck and finishes it with a deceptively fast wrist shot. The Caps went on to win this game and tie the playoff series at 1-1.

#7: One amazing goal, please! Ovi scores from his butt

In one of his many “how did he do that?” goals, Ovi takes the puck, bounces it off the boards, spins around a defender, skates hard into the slot, gets dragged down to the ice, STILL shoots, AND STILL scores underneath Carey Price’s pads. Locker said it best toward the end of the video: great players make great plays.

#6: The “Rightful Goal Scoring King of Washington“; Ovi becomes the franchise leader in goals

This goal is awash with significance. First, Holtby gets an assisst (What?). Second, he scores it the way many of his early goals came and the situation many recent goals came: on the rush and on the power play. Third, the goal came against Carey Price in a year where he was the undisputed Vezina Trophy winner. Fourth, he did it on the road. In Montreal. Montreal is a tough place to play in when the game is tied or the visitors are losing. Granted, this is Ovechkin.

#5: The Great Outdoors; Ovi scores in the 2015 Winter Classic 

Not the typical Ovechkin hard shot that others on this countdown have, but still a special moment. After being held without a goal in 2011, Ovechkin finally got his first outdoor goal since sometime in his childhood back in the USSR.

#4: Thunder and Lightning aren’t so frightening; Ovi scores FOUR as Caps win 6-5 (SO)

This was not one of Mike Green’s good games. In the first period, he took four minor penalties and a misconduct for 18 PIMs, on which Tampa Bay scored twice, adding another to chase Holtby. Then it was all Ovechkin. This one ranks so highly mostly because I was there to witness it. You can actually see the bottom of my foam 8 at about 1:10.

#3: Anything you can do, I can do better; Dueling Hat Tricks

This is a familiar moment for Caps fans: the Game 2 win against the Penguins where Ovi and Sidney Crosby both registered hat tricks. Watching it again, there’s a lot of nostalgia for the high-flying Caps of the Boudreau era. Especially with the Kozlov-Federov-Ovechkin line, I can’t help but miss the offense the team put up every game.

#2: No more Flyers; First Playoff Goal

Again, an individual effort by Ovi (supplemented by Backstrom’s forecheck) to score one of those goals that made you hug everyone around you regardless your relation to them. This is one of the loudest crowd reactions I’ve ever heard. For any sport.

#1: No description necessary; THE GOAL

EDITORS NOTE, 2 VIDEOS ON THIS ONE. CLICK HERE FOR THE FSN ARIZONA VERSION

You know this one, don’t lie. It warrants zero explanation. It needs no introduction. It is THE GOAL. I’ve never heard an announcer get so excited about a goal that puts the team up by five, but this was no ordinary goal. Just watch it. I really feel bad for the goalie here; if he stays in the net, he easily saves it. Now, he is forever part of the opposite side of history players want to be on. “Simply sensational”; “Alexander Ovechkin, when it looked like it was no longer possible.”

Feel free to add your favorite Ovi moments down below or on our Facebook page, but I’ll leave you with an off-ice moment. Many of you know my history with Mr. Ovechkin dates back to December of his rookie year when the foam 8 came into existence. Ovechkin’s on-ice brilliance can only be matched by his generosity off of it. The hockey world got a taste of that when he donated a brand-new car to charity, even after he was trolled by the All Star team being taken in the next-to-last round so he wouldn’t get the free car.

Ovechkin knows that the fans are why he can play hockey at the level he plays it. When Zach (my brother and fellow Crazy 8) and I were younger, we’d ask him for his sticks or a puck and he obliged up until his fourth year or so. Then again, we stopped asking. For our last game together, Zach flew down from college in New York just to make it to one last game.

We asked nothing of him. We made no mention of gifts or anything we wanted. All we did was go to the game, make a sign telling him it was our last game together, and made doubly sure Caps fans knew it when RMNB wrote a piece about us. Then came warm-ups.

He skates by us like he’s skated by us in hundreds of games. He taps the glass with his stick. I think that’s him just acknowledging our presence, but when he starts stretches at the blue line, he’s barking at the bench and pointing at us. I think nothing of it until he skates over with two, not one, but TWO sticks and guides them safely into my father’s hands behind Zach and I. That dedication from an athlete to his fans comes around so little.

Happy birthday to you, Alex Ovechkin. You wonderful, exemplary hockey player and an even better person.

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About Max Wolpoff

Journalism student at Boston University ('19), lifelong fan of the Washington Capitals. Current broadcaster for the Boston Blades of the CWHL. If you ever need him during the week, Max is probably studying for something.
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