Alexander Ovechkin has had quite a roller coaster ride in his hockey career. Many people across D.C. and the hockey world have speculated on his efforts over the last few years, claiming he hasn't given it his all.
Regardless of the efforts, we have seen what Ovechkin can do. He has one of the most electrifying styles of hockey we have seen in a while. His full arsenal containing jaw-dropping goals and bone-crushing hits have been featured on highlight reels ever since he was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2004 NHL draft by the Washington Capitals.
With the lockout in full stride due to massive amounts of disagreements by both the NHL and NHLPA, we are unable to witness any more memorable moments for the time being. I figured this was the least I could do for hockey fans.
As a diehard hockey fan myself, I must admit sad emotions were flowing through me as I put this together. Right about now, I pictured myself relaxing in a lounge chair with my feet propped up watching whatever hockey games were on the agenda for the evening.
Instead, I find myself watching the NHL Network as well as ESPN.com and EA Sports' collaboration of a simulated season through a video game.
With that said, Ovechkin has lit the lamp 349 times so far through seven seasons in the NHL.
Here are 10 of the most memorable, in my opinion.
This one actually wound up not counting as a goal, but you can see his extreme strength and toughness on the play. The Capitals were riding a 14-game winning streak before heading into Montreal to take on the Canadiens.
Habs defender Hal Gill was trying to chip the puck away and got knocked by Ovechkin. Somehow, the puck wound up in the net as a result of the hit. Originally called a goal by the referees, the play was eventually overruled to a no-goal.
I found Pierre McGuire's commentary on the play to be quite comical: "This guy is an Android, he's not human."
Ovechkin's first goal was obviously not on the flashy side, but he will certainly always remember his slap shot from the slot in his first ever NHL game with 12 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the second period.
The goal opened up a light of new hope for Washington Capitals hockey. The end of gloom and doom was finally near.
Ovechkin's first ever playoff goal came in his first ever playoff game at home against the Philadelphia Flyers and boy was it memorable. It came late in the game with under five minutes left in the third period and proved to be the game-winner.
The Caps would lose the next three games in the series, even it back up with two consecutive wins, then eventually fall to the Flyers in Game 7.
I actually had the privilege to view this beauty of a goal live. Ovechkin took the puck across the blue line and used two defenders to screen the goalie before sniping it top shelf on Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The screen he put together made it impossible for the goaltender to catch an eye on the puck.
He added another goal in the game as well before losing in overtime in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Pens.
On this play, it almost looked as if Ovechkin didn't want to score. He passed the puck back and forth with Marcus Johansson before finally notching it top cheese on Nikolai Khabibulin.
People say Ovechkin is selfish, but he has more assists (350) than he has goals (349) in his career. This one wound up working out either way. I appreciate good puck movement and accurate passing.
You have got to have some blistering velocity on your shot to break anything on the ice, let alone the camera which rests in between the pipes.
Ovechkin finished off a beautiful two-line pass fed by defenseman Jeff Schultz to get Washington within a goal on the Pens.
Ovechkin looked like an NFL running back coming down the ice on this goal against the Dallas Stars. He made the defender look like a complete fool. The goal was Ovechkin's second of the night.
It was unfortunate the Caps lost this one. I remember watching this live and rewinding my DVR multiple times in awe of what had happened on this play.
It's goals like this one that really make fans want to watch hockey again.
Not many players can pull this off. Ovechkin brought the puck all the way down the ice immediately after Patrick Kane scored for the Blackhawks and put the puck through Duncan Keith's legs before going short side on goaltender Corey Crawford.
When you first watch this, it just looks like he slid the puck in gently on the ground. I was amazed to find out he actually wristed the puck up in the air to get it past Carey Price from his back.
Now I don't know what was more impressive: the defensive poke check he was able to snag while doing a complete 360 spin or the actual goal itself. The whole entire play was absolutely electrifying to watch.
You have got to love the broadcasting announcer's reaction: "That's insanity! That is absolutely unbelievable!"
A lot of people may think this is the most impressive goal Ovechkin has ever put in between the pipes, but there is obviously one other goal that stands out in my mind.
Getting back to it, this goal was nothing less than sensational. Early on in his career, Ovechkin would do anything he possibly could to score. He showed intense hustle to get past the defender, and when the goalie came out to play the puck, Ovechkin slipped it past him for the team's sixth goal of the game.
This goal against the New York Rangers late in the second period of regular-season action stood out to me as the most memorable goal thus far in Ovechkin's career. What was even more special is that it happened to be the 500th point of his career. Words cannot even describe how difficult this is to do.
He rushes the puck down the ice just to give his team a chance to score before the horn and gets held up by the defender. Instead of giving up on the play, he throws a one-handed prayer through the defender's legs that miraculously wound up ricocheting in off the crossbar.
Enjoy this because there is a good chance you will never see a guy make something like this happen ever again.