Capitals

SEE IT: Alex Ovechkin returns to Caps' practice rink all smiles

Capitals

Nothing warms the heart like seeing the greatest goal-scorer of all time smiling at the practice rink. 

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has returned to D.C. from Russia and showed off his pearly whites in the process, according to the team's Twitter account. See for yourself:

And why wouldn’t he be smiling, after all? His Caps are primed for another season in which they’re expected to make the Stanley Cup playoffs, they return almost all key players from last year and The Great 8 should inch closer to one record the sports world has its eyes on.

Wayne Gretzky, unanimously known as the greatest hockey player ever, has the league record of 894 goals scored. That is a total that has appeared untouchable for decades, but Ovechkin, who turns 36 on Sept. 17, is at least within range and under contract for long enough to make a run at The Great One. 

Ovechkin sits at 730 career goals, 165 short of that golden record. He just signed a new deal with Washington this offseason that will keep him in the nation’s capital for the next five seasons. On the basis of averages, Ovi needs to tally about 33 goals per season to reach that mark.

The good news for Capitals fans is that the NHL is finally back to an 82-game regular season after the coronavirus shortened the campaign last season to 56 games and cut a few off the back end of the 2019-20 season, too. Short of suspensions or health issues, Ovechkin will be cleared for takeoff to move closer to 894.

 

Washington starts its 2021-22 regular season with a home bout against the New York Rangers on Oct. 13.