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Newest Capitals Loving Life Alongside Ovechkin: ‘Such A Special Human’

The newest additions to the Washington Capitals are loving being Alex Ovechkin’s teammates — and it’s not because of his talent.



WASHINGTON — Washington Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren felt goosebumps in the final minute of regulation against the Winnipeg Jets, as he watched his captain hit 802 goals and pass Gordie Howe for second on the NHL's all-time goals list and receive a standing ovation while hearing "Ovi" chants and Mark Howe's congratulations echo throughout Capital One Arena.

Back when he made the ranks of the NHL as an undrafted free agent, Lindgren could have never imagined he'd be on the same team as arguably the greatest goal-scorer of all time. That became a reality when he signed with the Capitals this offseason, and he and his fellow offseason additions are thrilled to be part of "The Gr8 Chase."

"It's an incredible honor… when I signed with Washington, getting the chance to play with Alex Ovechkin, I thought that was the coolest thing in the world," Lindgren said.

That journey goes beyond his talent, the "wow factor" that Howe emphasized as he encouraged Ovechkin to get busy chasing down Wayne Gretzky's all-time record. It is about the way No. 8 carries himself.

"To come here and see the kind of guy he is, he's so easy to talk to. He's just a really happy-go-lucky guy. Everyone just loves him," Lindgren added. "We were all waiting to see him get the [record], and then for him to score with a minute left and that tribute on the Jumbotron… it was just so well done. I don't know how you can really write a better script than that."

WHN FEATURES: Alex Ovechkin Reflects On Road To 802, 'Miracle' Of Hitting Second On NHL's All-Time Goals List

Dylan Strome, who assisted on goal No. 801 and signed a one-year deal to help fill in for an injured Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson, has since become an integral part of the team's top-6 and core during his tenure. And for the 25-year-old, seeing Ovechkin, one of the All-Stars who lit up his TV set as a kid, break a record with his help is the memory of a lifetime.

"To see the puck go in was just relief, I'm sure, from everyone. He's got 93 more now to break the record. He's an unbelievable player, an unbelievable guy. I saw the puck go in, and it's a great feeling," Strome said, adding, "It's history. Everyone in here talks about it. We understand the history of the game, and it's impressive, it's fun to watch, fun to be a part of. It's a dream come true, to be honest."

Strome had the exact same thought as Lindgren: as a free agent joining the team, he knew that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be the No. 1 center for a modern-day legend, and while that carries a unique meaning of its own, Ovechkin's personality, leadership and enthusiasm has been contagious.

"[It's] just how good of a person he is. There are things he sees that maybe I didn't see on the ice, and I'm appreciative," Strome said of Ovechkin and what he's seen since becoming his teammate after years of playing against him. "He gets to the open spots, and you've got to find him when he's open. The best shot in the history of the NHL, so when you're on his line, you've got to get him the puck as much as you can.

"[He has a] sense for the stage. Everyone knows it's coming, and everyone knows it's right around us," Strome added. "I feel like every goal is breaking a new record. It's fun to be a part of… usually the crowd is changing, 'Let's go Caps,' now they're chanting 'O-vi.' Well-deserved, and as they should. He's been doing it here for a long time, and he's going to continue to do it for a longer time. I'm happy to be a part of it. Like I said before, a dream come true."

READ MORE ON WHN: Charlie Lindgren Opens Up About Dream Come True Playing For Washington Capitals

Lindgren has two more years after this alongside Ovechkin, and though he's waiting to see him continue his climb up the mountain, with only "The Great One" left to catch, he's more excited to be his teammate and continue to learn from him.

"What Mark Howe said there and what Alex has meant to this whole community and the game of hockey and the National Hockey League, he's just such a special human and hockey player," Lindgren said. "It was so cool to be a part of. Never in a million years would I have thought I would've been a part of it. But to be here and see the kind of guy he is and the kind of hockey player he is, just couldn't be happier for him."