Alex Ovechkin’s latest record proves, again, that he’s not slowing down

Ovechkin's latest record proves, again, he's not slowing down originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

WASHINGTON — Tuesday night at Capital One Arena began with a celebration for Alex Ovechkin passing Gordie Howe for No. 2 on the NHL’s all-time goals list. And just about five minutes into the Capitals’ tilt with Columbus, Ovechkin made history in a different way.

Washington’s captain scored his 40th goal of the season on Tuesday night — the 13th time in his career he’s accomplished that feat — passing Wayne Gretzky for the most 40-goal seasons in NHL history. 

Ovechkin is just the eighth player to reach 40 goals this season. And at age 37, Ovechkin is at least 10 years older than every other 40-goal scorer this season. The next oldest player that’s topped 40 goals in 2022-23 is Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl, who just turned 27 years old last October.

So, how has Ovechkin continued to remain one of the NHL’s elite goal scorers in his 18th NHL season?

“I’m just trying to enjoy my time, trying to do my best,” Ovechkin said.

Ovechkin also took a lighthearted approach when asked what the 40-goal record means to him.

“Yeah, it’s a pretty cool moment. It doesn’t matter what kind of record it is, it’s a record,” he said, before jokingly asking a reporter “How many records do you have?”

When the reporter responded with “zero records,” Ovechkin smiled before saying, “Yeah, so you see.”

Although Ovechkin gave rather simple answers for his continued success, his head coach offered a lengthier response for why No. 8 continues to be one of hockey’s best.

“He’s been doing it every year consistently since he came into the league and so doesn’t seem to be any slowdown in him,” Peter Laviolette said. “He plays fast, he plays hard. … But, for me, the consistency part of it is, to answer your question, to be able to do that year in and year out.”

Laviolette wasn’t the only one to strongly praise Ovechkin following his celebratory night. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was in attendance for the ceremony and spoke glowingly when asked about the Capitals’ star.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Daly said. “You can tell every shift he takes, every time he’s on the ice, he enjoys what he’s doing. He’s having fun and I think a lot of professional athletes — I won’t say hockey players specifically — all professional athletes, you get to a point in your career where it becomes rote and, not a chore, but not as much joy in playing the game. But for him, he seems like a kid when he’s out there and that’s certainly helped his performance as well.”

Ovechkin tied the record for the most 40-goal seasons at age 35 or older. He also extended his own record over 40-goal seasons after turning 30 with six. Simply put, he’s doing things on the ice that no one his age has ever done. 

Tom Brady defied ‘father time’ in football, playing at an elite level until his retirement this winter. LeBron James is currently doing things no NBA player has ever done at his age. Now, it’s time to put Ovechkin into that group.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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