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Alex Ovechkin is built like a linebacker with the motor of a steam engine and the mentality of a wrecking ball.He can score like no other player of this generation and few in history and has the physicality to match. That was evident from his first NHL shift when he powered up ice and crushed Columbus defenseman Radoslav Suchy so hard it knocked out the stanchion between the panes of plexiglass.Ovechkin at 32 is no longer the human bulldozer he once was Womens Samuel Girard Jersey , but his hard-hitting style never put a dent in his prime years as he became the fourth-fastest player to 600 goals . On Sunday in Pittsburgh, the Washington Capitals‘ 2004 No. 1 pick will be the first player from that draft class to play 1,000 NHL regular-season games, a testament to his durability that is also difficult to duplicate in modern hockey.”That he has reached 1,000 games this quickly is an amazing accomplishment with the way he plays,” Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. ”These are big men, and the league has gotten faster but it’s also gotten much more fit, and that Alex has been able to span those generations and continue to play and be incredibly productive is really a historic feat.”In 13 seasons, Ovechkin has missed more than four games only once and never missed more than 10. Take out the eight games for suspensions and the Russian winger has only sat out for injury 21 times out of a possible 1,028.”I heard a couple years ago that he said he’s the Russian Machine,” longtime teammate Nicklas Backstrom said. ”That probably has something to do with it.”Ovechkin brushed off an injury in his second season with the now-famous line, ”Russian machine never breaks.” Ovechkin has played through knee and back pain and finished one playoff series on a fractured foot Semyon Varlamov Jersey , illustrating his pain tolerance while also avoiding the kinds of serious injuries that derail other players’ careers.Goaltender Braden Holtby pointed out that it helps Ovechkin to not kill penalties and risk injuries in those situations while also marveling at how the Moscow native is built. His 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame gives him the tools to punish opponents with his body as much as his shot.”When you’re big guy like Ovi, you’re not gonna be afraid to hit no one,” Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov said. ”And when people gonna hit you, they’re gonna feel it, for sure.”When Barry Trotz coached in Nashville, he remembered players seeing Ovechkin down the hallway cutting his stick and whispering about how big he was. Ovechkin had that intimidating presence to him.”Trust me, we had a lot of nervous defensemen,” Trotz said. ”We had a couple of nervous cats.”Watching Ovechkin’s sometimes reckless play could have at one point made the Capitals nervous, too, because of how valuable he is and how important it is he stay healthy. In recent years, he has toned it down with age and as hockey has gotten faster with lower priorities on hitting.”As soon as you get a little older Sergei Boikov Jersey , you realize when you have to get a hit and when you have to take a hit,” Ovechkin said. ”You can see right now in the playoffs it’s different hockey. Of course, every shift you try to do something out there, but in the regular year you don’t have to run around and hit everybody because if a game is 5-2 or 4-1 you don’t have to do it. Obviously you have to play smarter and try to do different things.”Evolving his game as a scorer and a power forward has helped Ovechkin get to this point where he’s on the verge of leading the league in goals for the seventh time and reach 50 for the eighth time.If Ovechkin, who still has Stanley Cup aspirations and three years left on his contract, maintains this level of durability and wants to keep playing in North America toward age 40, reaching 1,500 games isn’t out of the question.”There are a lot of players that have played 1,000 games but not as many players have scored 600 goals,” Leonsis said. ”If he takes cares of himself – which he has been, he looks great – he can play a lot of years in the league.”— CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Kane is heating up, and so are the Chicago Blackhawks.Kane had a hat trick Youth Jake McCabe Jersey , Brandon Saad scored twice and Chicago beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Thursday night for its fourth victory in five games.Kane completed his fifth career regular-season hat trick and first since March 2017 by scoring into an empty net with 26.9 seconds left. He leads the Blackhawks with 20 goals and 47 points, and has five goals and five assists during a six-game point streak.“It’s always nice to produce,” Kane said. “It was fun with both (Saad) and me on the ice at the same time.“We were trying to play hockey and make the right play, and hopefully one of us finished it off.”Collin Delia made 46 saves, and Jonathan Toews, Erik Gustafsson and Dylan Strome each had two assists for Chicago, tied for last place with St. Louis in the Central Division.Delia was sharp in his second start since being called up to fill the roster spot of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, who suffered a concussion on Dec. 16 against San Jose.Minnesota outshot Chicago 48-20 and the 24-year-old Delia, who appeared in just his fourth NHL game, drew as much postgame praise as Kane.“Shots were a little bit misleading, I think, but they had their chances Jason Pominville Jersey Kids ,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “We got the lead but they really pushed.“We had a little trouble getting out of the D-zone, but Delia was excellent. And we had some guys make some plays.”Zach Parise and Eric Staal scored for the Wild, who dropped their season-worst fifth straight (0-4-1).“Our margin for error isn’t very high right now,” Staal said. “We’re not scoring enough to make some of the mistakes we’re making.”Minnesota starter Devan Dubnyk allowed three goals on 10 shots before being replaced by Alex Stalock early in the second period. Stalock blocked eight of nine shots.“We have a lot of Grade-A chances and we’re not putting them in and we’re not getting the save when we need to get the save,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s not a good combination.”Chicago went 2 for 4 on the power play, scoring more than one goal with the man advantage for the first time this season.Kane opened the scoring 4:02 into the first. Although he was covered by Parise in the left circle, Kane batted in Gustafsson’s cross-ice feed before Dubnyk could slide across the crease.Parise tied it on a rebound with five minutes left in the first period, two seconds after a penalty to Chicago’s Brendan Perlini expired. Minnesota tested Delia with a flurry of tough chances during the power play. As the man advantage lapsed, Delia stopped Staal’s backhand stuff attempt, but Parise slid in a loose puck.Saad put Chicago back in front 23 seconds into the second period on a shot from the slot. Toews’ pass from behind the net bounced off Jason Zucker’s stick and deflected to Saad, who ended a six-game goal drought.Kane’s second goal, a power-play score off a faceoff 3½ minutes later Womens Johan Larsson Jersey , made it 3-1. Toews pulled the draw to Gustafsson at the left point, and he fed Kane in the right circle for a one-timer over Dubnyk’s glove.That prompted Boudreau to replace Dubnyk with Stalock.“I hate pulling goalies,” Boudreau said. “I just didn’t think he was seeing the puck well.”Delia was sharp the rest of the way as the Blackhawks reverted to a close checking game and limited rebounds and mistakes.Saad’s second goal, a power-play score at 12:17 of the third, gave Chicago some insurance. After Stalock misplayed a loose puck, Alex DeBrincat intercepted it and fed Saad, who scored from the slot.Boudreau pulled Stalock for an extra attacker with 3:42 left, and Staal scored on a rebound from a pileup with 50.3 seconds remaining to cut it to 4-2.Kane completed his hat trick into an empty net on a shot from center ice.NOTES: Parise was hit under the left eye by the stick of Chicago’s Duncan Keith early in the second period. The Wild’s leading scorer dropped to the ice but skated to the bench and returned a few minutes later. … Dubnyk played in his 260th game for the Wild, tying the 32-year-old with Manny Fernandez for second-most by a Wild goalie. … Minnesota star D Matt Dumba missed his fourth game with a torn right pectoral muscle. He had surgery this week and is expected to miss three months. … Chicago C Marcus Kruger sat out his fourth game with a concussion. … Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek, a healthy scratch for the second straight game and third time this season, will be sent to AHL Iowa once the NHL’s holiday roster freeze ends Friday.UP NEXTWild: At Winnipeg on Saturday.Blackhawks: At Colorado on Saturday.

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