Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin joined the 500-goal club on Sunday, becoming the 43rd NHL player to make the prestigious list.
In typical Ovechkin fashion, he scored No. 500 with a wrist shot on the power play that whizzed over the shoulder of Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond with sniper-like accuracy into the top of the net. "It was a special moment, in front of fans ... my teammates, my parents," Ovechkin said. "It's huge. It's pretty cool. It's a history moment."
Ovechkin is the fifth-fastest player to reach 500 goals, doing so in game No. 801. The only players to reach that milestone faster are Hall of famers Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy and Brett Hull.
Accolades poured in from all over the internet to congratulate Ovechkin on his accomplishment:
Congrats to Alex ovechkin on an amazing feet. 500 goals in 801 games. Simply sensational.
— Jeremy Roenick (@Jeremy_Roenick) January 11, 2016
Ovechkin entered the NHL in 2005-06. Since that season, he’s scored 146 more goals than the No. 2 man (Iginla)
— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) January 8, 2016
It's pretty amazing that Ovechkin is keeping company with Lemieux/Gretzky while playing in this era.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 9, 2016
Ovechkin became the first Russian-born player to ever reach 500. When it comes to scoring goals, Ovechkin is already the greatest Russian scorer ever and has proven himself to be one of the elite players of this generation. Ovechkin has compiled 934 points in 801 games played and has won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy given to the highest goal-scorer five times, including three years in a row. He’s been selected to seven All-Star games and has won the Hart Trophy for league MVP three times.
When Ovechkin retires, he will likely be regarded as the greatest Russian player ever. Below we take a look at some of the best Russian-born players in NHL history:
After defecting from the Soviet Union, Fedorov played 14 NHL seasons, almost entirely for the Detroit Red Wings from 1990-2003, and won three Stanley Cups between 1997 and 2002. He earned the reputation as one of the best two-way forwards in the league, winning a pair of Selke Trophies as the NHL’s best defensive forward and a Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP. Fedorov scored 483 goals (Ovechkin passed him this season) and has the most points (1,179) of any Russian-born NHL player.
Mogilny played on a line with Federov and Pavel Bure in the Soviet Union before defecting to the United States to join the Buffalo Sabres. He played parts of 16 NHL seasons with four teams, tied for the league lead in goals in 1992-1993 and won a Stanley Cup in 2000 with the New Jersey Devils. Mogilny recorded the second-most points of any Russian-born NHL player (1,032) and won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who displays gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
The Hall of Famer known as “The Russian Rocket” played 12 NHL seasons for the Canucks, Panthers and Rangers. Bure scored 60 goals in a season twice by the age of 22; his amazing combination of elite speed, shooting accuracy, hands and athleticism allowed him to become on the best goal scorers hockey fans had ever seen before or since. Only Ovechkin has a higher goals-per-game average for Russian players and the six-time All-Star led the league in scoring three times.
Kovalev broke into the league with the Rangers after becoming the first Russian-born player to be drafted in the first round in the history of the NHL. He played parts of 19 seasons with five teams, including two stints in New York and Pittsburgh. He became known for his superior stickhandling skills, deking ability and wrist shot. Kovalev won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994, played in three All-Star games and piled up 1,029 points in 1,316 career games.
Sergei Gonchar (Defenseman)
Gonchar makes this list with the most games played, goals and points of any Russian-born defenseman in NHL history. In fact, Gonchar ranks No. 17 all-time for games played as a defenseman. Gonchar played 20 seasons with six NHL teams, most notably the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, whom he won a Stanley Cup with in 2008-2009. Gonchar made 14 playoff appearances in his 20 seasons and appeared in four All-Star games.