There’s no question Ovechkin is one of the greatest players in hockey history. Is he the greatest athlete in Washington professional sports history?
Washington’s other professional teams, the Wizards, Commanders and Senators/Nationals, have had their share of stars.
From 1937-52, Sammy Baugh starred for Washington’s football team, twice winning an NFL title. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is widely considered one of the best quarterbacks in league history.
From 1907-27, pitcher Walter Johnson starred for Washington’s American League baseball team, then known as the Senators. A Hall of Famer, he was a two-time American League MVP and World Series champion.
Wes Unseld spent his entire career with the franchise that later became the Wizards. He was the MVP of the NBA Finals in 1978 and later inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
But Ovechkin’s legacy in Washington transcends them all.
He has spent all 18 of his NHL seasons with the Capitals, and will almost certainly retire with the team. In the age of free agency, superstars rarely spend an entire career with one team. LeBron James didn’t. Neither did Tom Brady.
Ovechkin has won the Hart Trophy, the NHL’s regular-season MVP award, three times. He has led the league in goals nine times. He’s a Stanley Cup champion and a Conn Smythe Trophy winner, the honor given to the MVP of the playoffs.
Last month, Ovechkin broke the record for most goals with one franchise. His next goal will tie Howe for second place all time, and by the time he’s finished, Ovechkin could be the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Years ago, no one thought it possible that anyone could surpass Gretzky’s mark (894).
When Ovechkin led the Capitals to the 2018 Stanley Cup championship — Washington’s first title in any major sport in 25 years — he cemented his status as the greatest D.C. athlete of all time.
After that title, NBC Sports Washington put Ovechkin at the top of the city’s pantheon of pro sports stars.
Since then, the gap between him and other D.C. stars has only grown wider.