Could He Actually Pass Gretzky?
Hockey is a little different than other sports when it comes to legacy. In other sports, there are debates over who the greatest player to ever play the sport was. Jordan or LeBron? Federer or Nadal? Messi or Ronaldo? The list goes on and on, not to mention the sports where there are many more than two people in the running for “best ever player.” But like I said, hockey’s different. There’s only one, undisputed “Great One,” and that is Wayne Gretzky. Sure, there’ve been a plethora of great hockey players in the NHL’s illustrious history, but Gretzky obviously stands head and shoulders above the rest. Gretzky, even over two decades after his final game, still holds some of the most important records, having scored more goals and more assists than any other player.
However, there is a chance that one of those hallowed records may be broken, and it would be done by none other than Alexander Ovechkin. The lifelong Washington Capitol scored his 700th career goal over the weekend, leaving him 194 goals short of Gretzky’s record. That seems like a pretty long way to go right? Well, here’s the thing: Alexander Ovechkin might be the most lethal goalscorer ever. Not only that, but he has done it so consistently throughout his career that he has averaged a mind-blowing 47 goals per season over his 15-year career (this season isn’t done yet though).
Wayne Gretzky played for 20 seasons, so it’s likely that we’ll get to see Ovechkin play for at least the same amount of time, giving him five more seasons to score 194 goals. However, given his career scoring average, he would score 194 goals in four seasons, something that is totally plausible given his physical shape and desire to play.
But what would happen if “The Great One’s” record fell? Two things would happen: First, nothing would happen to Gretzky’s legacy. He will, for all intents and purposes, remain the best player hockey has ever seen. Second, Alexander Ovechkin will go from his current state of being a Hall of Fame player to a legend deserving of the praise of being consistently mentioned in the same breath as Wayne Gretzky.
Like I said, hockey’s different. If you make history, especially at the expense of “The Great One,” you seal your legacy.