Wayne Gretzky has plenty of NHL records that seem unbreakable. Among the 40 records he holds are most assists, most 100-point seasons and most 40-goal seasons. However, the most untouchable has always been his career goals mark at 894. Gordie Howe is the only other player to break 800 (he finished with 801).
Only one active player has a solid chance at approaching that number. Alex Ovechkin notched his 50th and 51st goals of the season against the Lightning last week, marking his eighth 50-goal season. He has 658 career goals before the Capitals' game Thursday against the Canadiens. Ovechkin, 33, still has a ways to go to catch The Great One -- 236 goals to be exact -- but for the first time, the Capitals star is talking about the possibility of breaking the record.
"I have to be healthy. I have to be in good shape," Ovechkin told NHL.com. "I'm going to try to do it, but you don't know what's going to happen in the future."
If, in theory, Ovechkin netted 40 goals per season (which is not out of the realm of possibility), it would take him nearly six years to catch Gretzky. He would be 39 by then, so the biggest obstacle in all of this is time.
"He's got a chance to do it," Gretzky said last month on the NHL Network. "He's a good athlete, he plays in a great organization, he plays with good players, which you have to do, and there's no question he has a legitimate chance. Good for him. ... If he does, I'll be the first guy to shake his hand. I think it's great for the game."
It's a long road there, but Ovechkin does have a shot. If he decides to hang around the sport (he is only signed through 2020-21) and if the Capitals keep a solid core around him, Ovechkin can retire as the NHL goal king.