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Alex Ovechkin makes hockey history with his 800th goal

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Alexander Ovechkin made hockey history last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHRIS CHELIOS: And there it is, 800.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Alexander Ovechkin has done it.

SHAPIRO: While playing the Chicago Blackhawks, the forward for the Washington Capitals scored his 800th goal.

BARRY SVRLUGA: There's only three players in history who've scored 800 goals now, and Alex Ovechkin is one of them.

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

That's Washington Post sports columnist Barry Svrluga. Last night's game also made Ovechkin the third highest-scoring player in the sport's history.

SHAPIRO: No. 2 is Gordie Howe, who retired at 801 goals. And this year's hockey season is young. Ovechkin could beat that record as soon as tomorrow night when the Caps play the Dallas Stars.

SUMMERS: No. 1 is Wayne Gretzky, beloved as the great one to hockey fans. Gretzky retired at 894 goals. But Svrluga says Ovechkin is also on track to beat that record.

SVRLUGA: Eight-ninety-four just seems like an outlandish total, but he has this knack for being able to put the puck past the goalie and find the back of the net. And he just gets thirstier and thirstier rather than falling off.

SHAPIRO: Even at 37 years old, Ovechkin shows no sign of stopping. Svrluga says he's still averaging more goals per game than Gretzky did. The secrets to Ovechkin's success? Svrluga says it's his smarts for the game and a fast, dangerous shot.

SVRLUGA: He has scored so many goals from the left faceoff circle, and it just - you know, you almost can't see it. That area we've kind of labeled over the years as Ovie's (ph) office because it's like he's in a BarcaLounger over there just firing these missiles past goalies.

SUMMERS: That despite the fact that scoring goals has gotten harder since Gretzky retired over 20 years ago. In the 1990s, the score of a typical game might have been 5 to 4. Now, it's more like 3 to 2, Svrluga says.

SHAPIRO: Cool as these records are, for fans, nothing beats the site of the Great Eight, Alex Ovechkin, kissing and hoisting the Stanley Cup above his head.

(CHEERING) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kai McNamee
Justine Kenin
Justine Kenin is an editor on All Things Considered. She joined NPR in 1999 as an intern. Nothing makes her happier than getting a book in the right reader's hands – most especially her own.
Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.