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Alexander Ovechkin

Washington Capitals

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Right

Height: 6' 2"

Weight: 217

Born: Sep 17, 1985

Origin: Moscow, RUS

Alexander Mikhaylovich Ovechkin (AmE IPA: [ˈæl.ɪgˌzæn.dɚ oˈvɛtʃ.kɪn]) (Russian: Алекса́ндр Миха́йлович Ове́чкин; born September 17, 1985 in Moscow, USSR) is a Russian professional ice hockey left winger for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League. He is the highest paid NHL player ever, signing a 13-year contract extension worth $124 million with the Capitals, the richest in NHL history. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

He was the first overall selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, but due to the 2004-05 NHL lockout, he began play in the 2005-06 NHL season. During the 2007-08 season, he led the NHL with 65 goals and 112 points to capture the Richard and Art Ross Trophies.

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Alexander Ovechkin is the son of Mikhail Ovechkin, a former professional football (soccer) player, and Tatyana Ovechkina who won two Olympic gold medals while competing for the Soviet women's basketball team in the 1976 Summer Olympics at Montreal and in 1980 at Moscow.

The first signs of the Ovechkin's future came when he was a child. At the age of two, in a Soviet toy store, Alexander grabbed a toy stick and helmet and refused to let go. His parents treasure the picture to this day. As a small child, whenever he saw a hockey game on TV, he "threw all his toys" and ran to the TV. He "protested strongly" if his parents tried to change the channel. His parents say they knew he would be an athlete when Alexander chose to run up the steps to their apartment rather than take the elevator.

He began playing hockey at the age of 7. Soon after he began, however, he had to postpone his hockey career because his parents were unable to take him to the rink. But one of Ovechkin's coaches saw Ovechkin's talent and communicated to his parents that he should continue to play hockey. Ovechkin's brother, Sergei, who later died in a car accident, saw that Alexander loved hockey and insisted that he be allowed to return.

Since he studied at the Military Institute for Border Guards, Ovechkin did not have to go through compulsory military service.

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Dynamo Moscow

In Russia, hockey teams build players in their systems from childhood. Ovechkin began playing in the Dynamo Moscow system. At 16, he made his debut for Dynamo Moscow in the Russian Superleague in the 2001-2002 season.

In the 2003-2004 season, he won the Superleague award for Best Left Wing and became the youngest Dynamo Moscow player to lead the team in scoring.

In 2004-2005, he missed nearly two months of play because of a shoulder injury sustained in the Gold Medal Game against Canada in the World Junior Championships.

Washington Capitals

Ovechkin was the first overall draft choice in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, going to the Washington Capitals. He had been projected as the first overall pick for nearly two years, and had earned comparison to Mario Lemieux. He was so highly regarded, the Florida Panthers attempted to draft him in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft in the 9th round, even though his birthday was two days after the cuttoff (September 15th, 1985). Rick Dudley, the general manager of the Panthers, claimed the pick was legitimate, saying that using leapyears Ovechkin was old enough.

Following the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Alexander Ovechkin played his first game with the Capitals on October 5, 2005, scoring two goals in a 3-2 victory over Columbus. In a shootout against Anaheim, Ovechkin scored the winning goal to end the game at 5-4.

Ovechkin was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for December 2005.

On January 16, 2006, Alexander Ovechkin scored a goal that veteran hockey reporter Bill Clement called "one of the greatest goals of all time." Knocked down by Paul Mara, a defenseman for the Phoenix Coyotes, then sliding on his back and facing away from the net, Ovechkin was able to hook the puck with one hand on his stick and slide it into the net past goalie Brian Boucher for his second goal of the night.

On February 1, 2006, Ovechkin was named NHL Rookie of the Month for January 2006 as well as being named Offensive Player of the Month, becoming only the third player in NHL history to earn both honors in a single month.

Ovechkin led 2005-2006 NHL rookies in goals, points, power-play goals, and shots. He finished third overall in the NHL in scoring and tied for third in goals. His 425 shots led the league, set an NHL rookie record, and was the fourth-highest total in NHL history. Ovechkin’s point total was the second-best in Washington Capitals history and his goal total tied for third in franchise history. He was also named to the NHL First All-Star Team, the first rookie to receive the honor in 15 years. After the season ended, Ovechkin received the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL's best rookie. EA Sports made him the cover athlete for NHL 07.

Following the 2006-2007 NHL season, Ovechkin was awarded the Kharlamov Trophy, which is named after Valery Kharlamov and presented by Sovetsky Sport. The Kharlamov Trophy honors the best Russian NHL player as voted by other Russian NHL players.

Ovechkin played alongside fellow young phenom Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, held on January 24, 2007, in Dallas, Texas. He scored his first All-Star game goal.

On December 29, 2007, Ovechkin notched his third hat trick against Ottawa Senators netminder, Martin Gerber. Ovechkin tallied 5 points that night: 4 goals and 1 assist to lead the Capitals to a 8-6 victory. On January 31, 2008, he had another 5-point performance (4 goals, 1 assist) in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens.

After much speculation, Ovechkin signed a 13-year contract extension worth $124 million with the Capitals on January 10, 2008. The contract, which averages $9.5 million per year, is the richest in NHL history. Working without an agent, Ovechkin negotiated with Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and general manager George McPhee.

On March 3, 2008, Ovechkin notched his fourth hat trick, against the Boston Bruins. He scored his 50th, 51st, and 52nd goals of the season, the second time he has hit the 50-goal mark in three seasons with the Capitals.

On March 21, 2008, Ovechkin scored his 59th and 60th goals of the season against the Atlanta Thrashers. He was the first NHL player to score 60 goals in a season since 1996. He is the 19th player ever to reach the 60 goal plateau. On March 25, Ovechkin scored his 61st goal to hold the Washington Capital's team record for regular season goals previously held by Dennis Maruk. He would break Luc Robitaille's record for most goals by a left winger in one season on April 3, 2008, by scoring two goals, his 64th and 65th of the season.

Alex Ovechkin finished the 2007-08 NHL season as the leader in points (112) and goals (65), and will thus be awarded both the Art Ross Trophy and the Rocket Richard Trophy.

In his first NHL playoff game, Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal with less than five minutes left.

Russian National Team

At the age of 16, Ovechkin helped lead the Junior National Team to the Gold medal with two hat tricks, one against Switzerland and one against USA, and an assist.

At the age of 17, when he was selected by Russian coach Victor Tikhonov to play in the Ceska Poistovna Eurotour tournament, Alexander became the youngest skater ever to play for the Russian National Team in the history of Russian hockey. In that tournament he also became the youngest player ever to score for the National Team.

At the age of 18, Alexander Ovechkin was named Captain of the Junior Russian National Team. Russia finished 5th in the tournament.

At the age of 19, Ovechkin was named to the Russian National Team for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He was the youngest player in the tournament.

Also at the age of 19, Alexander Ovechkin was named Captain of the Junior National Team in the 2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. The tournament, lasting from December 25, 2004, to January 4, 2005, was Ovechkin's third and last. At the end of the tournament he had collected 7 goals (tied for tournament lead). His team received the silver medal after losing the gold medal game to Canada on January 4, and Ovechkin was named the Best Forward of the tournament as well as selected to the tournament All-Star Team.

In 2005 Ovechkin played in his first IIHF men's World Championships. He scored five goals and three assists, landing eighth in the top scorers list and sharing third place in goal scoring.

In 2006, Ovechkin played in his very first Winter Olympic Games. Although Russia came away from the games without a medal, Ovechkin scored 5 goals in the tournament, including the game-winner against Canada's Martin Brodeur, eliminating Canada from the tournament. Ovechkin was the only player not on Sweden (Gold) or Finland (Silver) to be named to the all-tournament team.

At the 2006 IIHF World Championships, Ovechkin scored six goals and three assists (nine points) in seven games before losing 4-3 to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. For his efforts, Ovechkin was one of six players selected Media All-Star Team.

At the 2008 IIHF World Championships, Ovechkin helped led Russia to the gold medal by finishing with 12 points (six goals, six assists) in nine games. He was selected to the Media All-Star Team for the second time in five tournament appearances.

Ovechkin has appeared in several tournaments for the Russian national team. He most recently was part of the Russian team that won the 2008 World Championships.

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Records

NHL records

Most shots on goal by a rookie (2005-06) - 425 shots

Point streak in consecutive games to start an NHL career by a No. 1 overall pick - 8 games

Most regular season points by a Russian-born NHL rookie - 106 points

Most points scored by a NHL left-wing rookie - 106 points

Fastest overtime goal - 6 seconds; (12/15/2006 vs. Atlanta; tied with Mats Sundin and David Legwand)

Most goals scored by a NHL left-winger in a single season - 65 goals

Team records

Most Goals in a season (2007-2008) - 65 goals

Most career penalty shots attempted - 3 shots (tied with P. Bondra and M. Gartner), [November 30, 2006]

Most Goals in a season by a Washington Capitals rookie (2005-2006) - 52 goals

Most Points in a season by a Washington Capitals rookie (2005-2006) - 106 points

Point streak by a Washington Capitals rookie - 11 games (17 points; 5 goals, 12 assists), [March 18 - April 7, 2006]

Point streak by a Washington Capitals rookie to start season - 8 games

Goal streak by a Washington Capitals rookie - 7 games [February 10 - March 8, 2006]

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PITTSBURGH - MAY 28: Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals poses with the Art Ross Trophy and the Maurice Richard Trophy during the NHL Awards presentation at the Omni William Penn Hotel on May 28, 2008 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

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