When Dave Andreychuk hung up the skates in 2006, he did so with the most power play goals of all time. Now Alex Ovechkin stands to break that record and Andreychuk is not surprised in the least.
Andreychuk admitted he would follow current players to see how close they were getting to his record. But even several years ago, he began to realize that Ovechkin was going to pass him.
"I just knew it was a matter of time before that happened," Andreychuk told reporters this week. "And he was quite a ways away to be honest with you, but I know the consistency in his game. We know that that's a big part of who he is is that power play. If he continued to stay healthy and wanted to play, he was eventually going to go by me."
Ovechkin currently has 271 power play goals, three shy of Andreychuk's record of 274. The question is no longer if Ovechkin can pass Andreychuk, but when?
Ovechkin has been able to rack up the power play goals largely from "the office," when he sets up in the faceoff circle and waits to be set-up for the one-timer.
With all the coaching and game-planning that every team does to prepare to play, Ovechkin's one-timer has become one of the most dominant plays in sports. It is one of those rare feats that everyone knows is coming, but seemingly no one can stop it.
The fact that Ovechkin has been able to dominate with that play for so long is a testament to his skill and consistency.
"I would also want to say, it's not only that one spot that he scores goals," Andreychuk said. "He scores goals in a whole bunch of places. Yes, that's his patented shot, but, just like the other night, he scored a goal on a rebound in front of the net. I will want to say that this guy is a special talent and all of us that have been watching him over the years, we understand that. He's the total package."
Ovechkin's pursuit of the power play goal record has brought with it inevitable comparisons between him and Andreychuk. In watching him play, however, Andreychuk said he does not see many similarities between him and the Great 8.
"I think I got one one-timer in my career out of the 600-and-something goals," Andreychuk said. "Totally different, opposites. I've been watching the telecast for a few weeks now and there's been some references to my style. A lot of them have talked about it was a different game, a different style. I was primarily six feet in front of the net and that's where it came from. I got good players to shoot at me, I got good players to pass to me."
Andreychuk acknowledged that it is much harder to score in the league today than it was during his career.
And yet, even with better goaltending, with better game-planning, with better coaching, with better equipment, with better training, still no one can find a way to stop Ovechkin.
"When you put that kind of talent together -- the speed, the strength, the desire, the competitiveness and talent -- a lot of things are going to get done," Andreychuk said. "We all know it's coming and nobody can stop it."
It's that consistency that now has Andreychuk just waiting for the day he no longer sits atop the record book.
"When that day comes, I had a good run," Andreychuk said. "It's been a while, it's been fun, and to be put in that same class as Phil Esposito and Brett Hull and now Alex Ovechkin, I'm so very honored."