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Ovechkin set to pass Fedorov as top Russian in goals

by Katie Brown

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin has broken more than a few records during his NHL career, but the next one he reaches will have some added meaning.

The Washington Capitals captain is on the verge of becoming the highest goal scorer among Russian-born players, closing in on former NHL player Sergei Fedorov's record of 483 goals.

Ovechkin has 480 goals in 766 NHL games, the most of any player since he entered the League in 2005.

"I'm very excited," Ovechkin said. "It's going to be a huge honor for me to beat his record, especially [since] I know him and he was a top player I played with. It'll be something."

Ovechkin could tie or surpass Fedorov's mark by the end of the week. The Capitals play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN); the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday and visit the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Washington was Fedorov's final stop in the NHL. He played 70 games for the Capitals after he was acquired in a trade from the Blue Jackets in 2008. He retired from the NHL after the 2008-09 season with 483 goals in 1,248 NHL games. Fedorov, who enjoyed his heyday with the Detroit Red Wings, will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 9.

Breaking the record is especially meaningful for Ovechkin, not only because Fedorov is his former teammate, but because of Fedorov's contributions to hockey in Russia and the standard he set for Russian players coming into the NHL.

Ovechkin, who often played on a line with Fedorov in Washington, said he still corresponds with Fedorov, who he still looks to as a mentor.

"I was growing up when he was here, so it's kind of a situation where you look at him when you're growing up, you watch how he played, all his influence on Russian hockey, and it was huge," Ovechkin said.

Watching Ovechkin pile up on accomplishments is special to everyone around him, especially those who are familiar with him and Fedorov.

"It probably is a little bit surreal, and also a little bit heartwarming," Trotz said. "Ovi's driven to be one of the best in the game, not only here in North America but in Russia. I think he's probably quietly very proud of the fact that he can at least match the standard and he's probably going to bypass it with the number of games that he'll probably play from now till the end of his career. That's got to be some satisfaction. If I know anything about Sergei Fedorov, he'll probably be really happy that a guy like Ovi's passing him."

Ovechkin has scored at least 50 goals six times during his career and is the fifth player in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in each of his first 10 seasons. He holds Washington's franchise record for most career goals.

"I think it's a big memory for him and I think he's glad to be the best scorer to represent our country. It's always positive for him," Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov said.

Ovechkin is likely headed for the Hall of Fame when his NHL career is through, though that doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon.

"As far as I'm concerned, [he's] the best goal-scorer the game has ever seen," Capitals forward Brooks Laich said of Ovechkin. "It's not like he's stopping either, he's not just barely getting past. He's still in the prime of his career. He's got many years of goal scoring left in him."

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