The 50/50 Club: Alexander Ovechkin on Pace to Join Elite Group of Goal Scorers

Jon NeelyAnalyst IOctober 7, 2009

It's a feat that has only been accomplished eight times in NHL history, by five different players, but Capital's winger Alexander Ovechkin finds himself on pace to be the next member in the illustrious "50 in 50" club.

Yes, something we thought we may never see again might be unfolding right in front of our eyes this season.

'The Great Eight' has five goals in his first three games, and by the looks of it, has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. He finds him on pace to score 50 goals in 50 games, a mark earned by only the best scorers in the NHL. It is no secret that the Russian sniper can light the lamp like no other in the league right now, but if he were to score 50 goals in 50 games, he would be in the company of some of the NHL's most elite players of all time.

Maurice 'Rocket' Richard was the first player to ever score 50 in 50, as a member of the Montreal Canadiens in the 1944-1945 season. He scored his 50th goal in the 50th game of the season, a pristine accomplishment, and one the league would not see done again for 35 years.

Many were convinced that no one would ever duplicate what Richard had done in 1945, but along came Mike Bossy in the 1980-1981 season to quiet those who doubted. That season there were two players, Bossy and Charlie Simmer of the LA Kings, who had a chance at the feat, and just happened to meet up in the 50th game of the season.

Bossy came into the game with 48 goals, Simmer had 46. The game was a massive draw for fans, and it lived up to the hype as Simmer recorded a hat-trick to leave him with 49 goals, then, with five minutes remaining in the game, Bossy scored twice to reach the 50 goal mark. Only the second player to do so, but no one could have predicted what would happen the very next season.

Wayne Gretzky was no stranger to scoring goals, but in the in 1981 he took his goal-scoring skills to a level of which the league has never seen, nor will we ever again. After the team's 37th game, Gretzky had 41 goals, well on his way to being the third player ever to hit the half century mark in as many games. In the 38th game, The Great One potted four goals bringing his total to 45. December 30, 1981 will never be forgotten by hockey fans, and on this night took place one of the greatest achievements of all time.

The 39th game of the season, and Wayne Gretzky scored an incredible five goals, to reach the 50 goal mark in record breaking time. He had reached 50 goals before anyone else in the league had even hit the 30-goal mark, and finished with an NHL-record 92 goals that year.

Gretzky would go on to score 50 in 50 twice more in his career, doing it back-to-back in 1983-84 (50 in 42) and 1984-85 (50 in 49).

Pittsburgh Penguins legendary captain, Mario Lemieux, was the next player to accomplish the goal mark, scoring 50 goals in 46 games, finishing the season with an impressive 85 goals.

The last player to join the 50/50 club, did it twice in a row, from 1990-1992. Brett Hull potted his 50th goal in the 49th game with the St. Louis Blues, and then did it again in the very next season in the 50th game against LA Kings goalie Kelly Hrudey.

Since Hull, no one has accomplished the feat, or even come close, but this season Ovechkin looks like he could be the sixth player in history to join the elite 50/50 club. It will take extreme skill, consistency, and the ability to stay healthy in order for him to do it, but as we've learned in his short career, if anyone can do it, it's Ovie.

It's only been three games, and whether Ovechkin can accomplish it or not this season is obviously yet to be seen, but this just adds yet another reason to watch the eccentric star's every move this season.

You can only imagine the celebration that will follow if Ovechkin were to join the 50/50 club.


The NHL considers 50 goals in 50 games to be done in or before the team's 50th game, not the player's 50th game. Four players have scored 50 goals within their 50th game of the season, but after the team's 50th game (Jari Kurri, Alex Mogilny, Mario Lemieux, Cam Neely).