Alexander Ovechkin etched his name in the record books as the eighth player to score 700 career goals in NHL history, but is still looking for the larger goal and a legend backs him for the all-time record.
On Saturday, Ovechkin netted the emotional tally against the New Jersey Devils and the hockey world was able to express their feelings about The Great 8.
New York Islanders legend and Hockey Hall of Famer, Mike Bossy, was able to weigh in on the possibility of Ovechkin finishing his career on top.
"A lot of people have been asking me if he can get to Gretzky's goal mark, and my answer is that if he wants to, I think he can," Bossy told ESPN. "If he stays healthy."
Of course, health is the major concern for those who are cheering for a new record holder and Bossy has a personal connection.
The four-time Stanley Cup champion had his career cut short at the age of 30, but was still able to amass 573 goals through his 10 seasons on the Islanders.
"From a personal standpoint, I didn't start my career wanting to play 20 years in the National Hockey League. Don't ask me why. I didn't know how long I wanted to play. When I started, my goal was to play 10 years and score 50 goals every year. Because of injury, I only played 10 years and missed out on the 50 goals one year because of the injury," Bossy said.
"If I would have been healthy, I'm sure I would have continued playing a little. And if the numbers would have kept on mounting, I know myself enough where if I was approaching something of that sort I would have considered it. But it's all hypothetical. I never realistically entered that mindset."
As Ovechkin continues his career as a historic scoring threat into his mid-30s, the possibility of him scoring 195 more goals in his final years is becoming less hypothetical.
While there were periods in his career where it looked to have waned, Ovechkin is currently in the Rocket Richard Trophy race as top goalscorer this season. The 34-year-old is on pace to finish the season with 56 goals and doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
Wayne Gretzky owns the all-time record of 894 career goals, so Ovechkin still has a while to go. But the Russian phenom has already won the support of Bossy considering the period of hockey’s evolution we’re in.
"I hate comparing eras. Everyone played in their own era. Who knows what kind of shape Ovi would have been in had he played during my day? Or if he played with a wooden stick? Or if he played with the red line in?" said Bossy, referring to the ban of the two-line pass lifting prior to Ovechkin coming into the league.
"So I hate comparing eras, with Ovi or with myself or with anyone that came in between. Goal scorers are goal scorers no matter when they played."
Ovechkin is certainly a goalscorer and a legendary one at that.
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