Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin became the all-time leading goal scorer among Russian players in the NHL on Thursday night by scoring No. 484 in a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars.
Ovechkin passed center Sergei Fedorov, who had 483 goals in 1,248 games. Ovechkin has played 777 games. Fedorov was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last week. Ovechkin may very well be on his way there.
Here is a sample of what people around the hockey community are saying about Ovechkin as he approaches his next milestone, 500 goals:
"I'm really happy for him. He's a terrific player, and I enjoy watching him every day. He's had such a big impact on the whole city of Washington and the team, how we've been going since he's been here. It's just amazing how he's taken the whole team on his shoulders."
"I think it takes him too long to score this amount of goals. I think he can score double in no time and I wish him that. It's very special because we shared a couple years in Washington. … Obviously his achievements and the goals he's scoring for his team are important. I'm sure after the season probably he'll sit back and relax and suck in this kind of moment."
"They're totally different. Sergei was a real cerebral player; he played with a lot of grace. He played hard, but he was a real smooth player and very efficient and very smart. When you see Ovi play, he plays with power. Not that he can't play with finesse; he's got some of the best goals that you'll ever see on the planet. He's more of that loud player than Sergei."
"We have our [Russian] style of hockey and our standards are very high, so it's nice to have this guy carrying that attitude toward being the best. It's not easy when every night they know what you're going to do and you know you're getting players to shadow you, but he always finds ways to score and always finds ways to lead the way for the hockey team to score big goals. It's a nice feeling to see a guy like that carry that in every season, every game."
"He's the best goal scorer right now in the world. He scores lots of goals for many years. Everybody is different. Sergei [Fedorov] would score one way, I was scoring a different way, and Alex has a great shot and he's a really powerful forward. That's why he scores so many goals."
"I think this is a unique individual player not only because of his goal scoring, but he's 235 or 240 pounds. He is like a bull on the loose out there. This is a phenomenal hockey player, way above so many of the other great, great scorers. So many of the great scorers were not physical players, but this guy, I don't know how you stop a guy like this. He goes at you. That size and that speed for that size, he's just one of those freaks of nature that produces a hockey player."
"Alex is Alex, he's a scoring machine, you know. I guess everybody wonders when he stops. Every year he puts in 50, 50, 50, 50. He's an amazing talent. He's strong. He has natural talent, natural ability to score, an amazing shot. Like I said, he's just a scoring machine. He scores goals so easy."
"You know he's going to beat you and have a highlight-reel goal, but when he fans on one or if it's a bad-angle goal when he's trying to make a pass and it goes off of you or someone else and in, that's when you get upset as a goalie. But you don't always get upset because these guys are good and they score nice goals. You just want to make sure he doesn't score one when he's on his back and looking at somebody else so you see the highlight for the rest of your life. That's your ultimate, to not get embarrassed."
"It's not like goals are flying off the shelf in today's game either. No one is getting 80 or 90 goals, or averaging 60 a year. He's getting 50 goals when maybe there is one other guy in the 40s. Not only that, but it's the way he plays. It's not like the way I played, where I was just trying to be invisible. He's out there running guys. It's very impressive to me."
"Goal scoring, for me, it was just being very passionate. I loved scoring goals as a kid, always fooling around, and that's how it carries over for us, for guys like Ovechkin. I really don't know him, but he's got that drive and he's got that passion. There's nobody else like him. He can fire that puck. He's got some talented guys around him that set him up, but that comes with practice. I hear he practices shooting pucks like crazy. Not only is it coming at you hard, it's accurate too. It's a good lesson for everybody else, for young kids, [practice] is how you're going to get better."
"[The way he shoots the puck] is certainly a quality that not many players have. The thing is with guys like Ovechkin, you know they're going to shoot it, and it's still hard to defend. They find a way, a knack of getting into that gray area, getting into open ice. Obviously, there are players playing with him that get him the puck at the right time and in the right space, and then he has that knack. I was lucky enough to play with Brett [Hull] for a couple years in St. Louis and they just find that open ice. Ovechkin, getting close to a huge milestone, those guys just find a way."
"He can play physical. He can hit with the best of them. He's hard to knock off pucks. For the life of me, maybe as quick as you ask the question, I can't think of a guy like him. There's lots of guys who scored like that and lots of guys that hit like that, but not too many guys that have that combination to play that power forward type game."