The Washington Capitals celebrated Alex Ovechkin reaching 700 career goals in a ceremony before Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets, which included a video montage of Wayne Gretzky and the other living members of the 700 goals club congratulating the Russian.
Ovechkin was just the eighth player to score 700 NHL goals, and trails only Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Brett Hull, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito and Mike Gartner. He hit the milestone Saturday with a third-period goal on the road against the New Jersey Devils.
“Congratulations on joining the 700 club,” Gretzky said. “You’ve had an outstanding career. You’ve scored 700 goals, you’ve won a Stanley Cup and you’ve meant a lot to the game of hockey not only in Washington but throughout North America and in Russia, of course.
“I’ll be there saying the same thing when you get to 800. Good luck.”
Gretzky has said he believes Ovechkin has a good shot at breaking his all-time goals record of 894. The first part of the video tribute played at Capital One Arena began with hockey commentators calling Ovechkin the greatest goal scorer of all time, as replays were shown of his 100th goal, 200th and so on up the list.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was on hand and presented Ovechkin with a Tiffany crystal. Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis and team president Dick Patrick gifted Ovechkin a commemorative Hublot watch with a Russian flag-colored wristband and the number 700 at the top of the clock face.
Fans at the game received rally towels in the shape of Ovechkin’s jersey.
Ovechkin was joined on the ice by his wife Nastya Shubskaya and their 1-year-old son, Sergei. The captain held his son in his arms as he watched NHL legends, as well as Howe’s son Mark, take turns congratulating him.
“I’ve been told that there are more guys that have walked on the face of the moon that have scored 700 goals, and you’ve made it look easy so far in your career,” Gartner, a former Capital, said.
“If I would be Wayne Gretzky I would be shaking right now because I think you’re gonna beat him,” Jagr said.
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