What better way to start the new year than by hitting a major career benchmark? We could see it happen twice this week, as Vancouver Canucks long-time center Henrik Sedin and Washington Capitals franchise forward Alexander Ovechkin are each within reach of 1,000 career regular season points. As the NHL begins it’s 100th season, just 83 players have scored 1,000 points in their career. Gordie Howe was the first to do it, back in 1960, and Patrick Marleau was the most recent addition, notching #1,000 last November. It took Marleau the most games to hit the mark, 1349 to be exact, while Wayne Gretzky did it the fastest, in 424 games, and had his second 1,000 in 857 games, just 433 games later, making him also the second fastest. The only active players on the list are Marleau, teammate Joe Thornton, Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa and, of course, Jaromir Jagr. When will Sedin and Ovechkin join them?
Sedin currently sits at 996 points, just four points away from membership into the elite club. Sedin, and twin brother Daniel (965 career points), were drafted #2 and #3 overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 1999. They broke into the league together in 2000-01 and the rest is history. 16 years later, hockey’s ultimate siblings continue to be scoring machines in Vancouver. Henrik, now the captain of the Canucks, established himself as one of the best players in the NHL back in 2009-10, when he led the league with 83 assists and 112 points, earning both the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer and Hart Trophy as MVP. Sedin went on to lead the league in assists in each of the next two seasons. Just two years ago, in 2014-15, Sedin notched 55 assists on his way to a 73-point season, showing up those who suggested he was slowing down. Now 36 years old, both Henrik and Daniel are finally starting to show their age, but Henrik is still the main man in Vancouver, sharing the team points lead of 26 with Bo Horvat. With just four points to go until 1,000, Sedin faces three opponents this week who are not exactly the toughest to score against. Vancouver hosts the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow night and then takes on the Calgary Flames in a home-and-home on Friday and Saturday. Sedin has a strong chance to join the 1,000 point club by week’s end.
Meanwhile, Ovechkin prepares to hit 1,000 at just 31 years old. The dynamic winger currently has 994 points, just six points away from becoming the fastest to 1,000 in the 21st century. The first overall pick in 2004, Ovechkin has been a star since the beginning. In his rookie season in 2005-06, the 20-year-old scored 105 points, took home the Calder Trophy in a landslide, and has never looked back. Ovechkin has had four seasons of over 100 points, including leading the league with 112 in 2007-08. He has won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal-scorer six times, including each of the past four years. He’s even two goals away from tying Maurice Richard himself for 29th all-time in goals. Ovechkin will hit 1,000 in no time and will likely be chasing 1,500 before we know it. But will he hit the mark this week? The Capitals square off against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, and then travel to Ottawa to face the Senators on Saturday night. Three good competitors are on the docket, but when it comes to scoring, never count out Ovechkin.