We - and many others - have written a number of words about the various accomplishments racked up by Alex Ovechkin over the course of his career. Time and time again, there have been opportunities for us to praise him and celebrate yet another chapter in the book of Ovi. Another historic moment. Another milestone. Another, another, another.
And it never, ever gets old.
Thanks to his work last night, we get to do it once more, as Ovechkin picked up assist #500 of his career on this play to open the Caps’ scoring against the Panthers:
.@ovi8 gets his 500th career assist on @backstrom19's PPG! pic.twitter.com/Z4ZGHIPMvw— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) January 26, 2018
It was a fitting way to hit that milestone, setting up longtime teammate Nicklas Backstrom for the goal - a guy who has set him up for so many of his nearly 600 tallies (and who has benefited from plenty of Ovechkin passes, as well, with 86 goals and counting).
Assisting on his teammates’ goals isn’t exactly what Ovechkin has become known for, but those of us who have watched him over the years know that it’s a hugely underrated aspect of his game - in fact, being known as a shoot-first player has helped him execute some thoroughly beautiful helpers in his 13 seasons.
"He's a lengendary player. Everyone thinks of Alex as a pure goal-scorer and he is, but you always tend to forget that he's a pretty good playmaker as well. Those numbers are just going to continue to grow." - #Caps Barry Trotz on Ovechkin reaching 500 career assists— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) January 26, 2018
As always, there’s the now-familiar rundown of Ovechkin’s place in franchise history, among active NHLers, and in NHL history. To wit: already second in assists in franchise history, Ovechkin now joins Backstrom as one of two Caps to ever crack the 500-assist mark, and the second player from the 2004 draft.
He also becomes the fourth active player to become a member of the 500+ goal/500+ assist club, alongside Jaromir Jagr (766/1155), Marian Hossa (525/609), and Patrick Marleau (524/583) and 43rd all-time to achieve it. And by hitting those marks in 970 games, Ovechkin becomes one of just four of those 500/500 players since 1987-88 - Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and Teemu Selanne - to do so in fewer than 1000 games.
All of those numbers, and the company he’s keeping, simply add to the legend that Ovechkin is cultivating, and serve as yet another reminder that we as Caps fans are getting a front-row seat to the creation of that legend. That’s not something that happens every day, or to every fanbase - so once more we take a minute to pause and appreciate what we’re witnessing: true history being made.
It really never gets old.