With the Capitals’ surprising win over Rangers at Madison Square Garden today, here’s a fun bit of trivia worth sharing. Via NHL Network, Wayne Gretzky scored the final goal of his NHL career 16 years ago. It came against the New York Islanders.

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While handicapping the Art Ross race with ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Wayne Gretzy, the greatest hockey player to ever live, shared effusive praise for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

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Photo: Julio Cortez

Alex Ovechkin can score goals. Everybody knows that. His lamp-lighting ability is unmatched in this generation (sorry, Stamkos). And as Ovechkin takes aim for Peter Bondra’s Capitals franchise goal record (472, just 23 away), I asked myself how the Russian machine stacks up against the league’s all-time greats.

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Don Sweeney, Paul Fenton, and The Great One

The Capitals’ search for a new general manager continues, and while the process is pretty hush-hush, some details have gotten out.

Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts column names several candidates for new Caps GM, including Don Sweeney, Paul Fenton, and Ray Shero. He also mentions that Wayne Gretzky could be brought in to run the organization:

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Photo credit: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin probably won’t hit 50 goals in 50 games. Even with his four-goal night against the Tampa Bay Lightning the other night, his chances of hitting 50 goals in his last 50 regular season games seems unlikely. Going by the NHL standard (and arbitrary) definition of 50 goals in a team’s first 50 games of a season, it’s even more unlikely.

But that shouldn’t lessen what he’s is doing right now. Ovechkin’s 2013-14 season could be historic yet.

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Photo credit: Geoff Burke

The Washington Capitals lost to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 at Verizon Center on Friday. Despite the loss, Caps fans in attendance got a real treat; they were in the presence of The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky was a guest of Ted Leonsis, watching the game in the owner’s box. CSN was the first outlet to point out that Gretzky was in attendance, cutting to a shot of him during the first period. As word spread among fans in Verizon Center, a throng of people started amassing aroud the box.

Gretzky, who is constantly harangued for autographs and photos, signed for fans during most of the intermission. He also took photos. And he looked thrilled doing so.

During the third period, Caps PA Announcer Wes Johnson officially announced that Gretzky was in the house. The Great One received a standing ovation, delaying the game for a minute.

RMNB readers have shared with us their photos and stories of meeting 99. (Make sure to read what James wrote. Apparently Gretzky signed a beer can. I would pay unlimited monies to have this.)

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

Towards the end of the first period and with the Washington Capitals down 3-0 to the Montreal Canadiens, Comcast SportsNet panned to the owner’s box. Ted Leonsis was was sitting there with the greatest player of all-time, Wayne Gretzky. The Great One was chatting non-stop.

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Despite a painfully slow start, Alex Ovechkin has had one of the greatest seasons of his career. He scored more goals than any other player, earning his third Rocket Richard trophy in six seasons. He finished third in the league in points. He led his team to a division title after being mired in dead last a month into the season. Ovechkin’s play is the reason the Capitals are in the playoffs — without his success, this would have been a lost season for Washington.

Since he has been so crucial to the accomplishments of his team, he deserves consideration for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the guy “judged to be the most valuable to his team.” However, many of the writers who vote for the award are casting their ballots for somebody else — namely Sidney Crosby or John Tavares.

The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, disagrees with that.

Monday afternoon, Gretzky called in to Hockey Night in Canada’s afternoon radio show hosted by Rob Pizzo and Elliotte Friedman. Wayne talked about what teams he thinks will succeed in the playoffs and gave Ovechkin the ultimate endorsement, naming him and Jonathan Toews as the two people he’d like to see win the Hart trophy. He also praised the skills of first year head coach Adam Oates.

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Alex Ovechkin Wax Figure Debuts at Madame Tussauds

Alex Ovechkin wax figure

Photo credit: Kris Connor

Alex Ovechkin, sporting 10 stitches on his forehead after taking an errant puck to the face during Caps practice, traveled into DC this afternoon to celebrate his new wax immortality.

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Old Man Knuble

Mike Knuble

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

A 24-year-old Mike Knuble, then a promising forward prospect, played nine games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 1996-97 season.

Players who were still playing during Knuble’s first season in the NHL include Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Mark Messier, Dino Ciccarelli, Brian Leetch, Grant Fuhr, and Ron Hextall.

Just days after Knuble’s first game, Phil Collins announced that he was leaving Genesis to focus on his solo career, M.C. Hammer wasn’t yet bankrupt, and it would be months before The Daily Show debuts on Comedy Central.

I guess what I am trying to say is Knuble is old getting up there in years, but don’t tell him that.

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