Ovechkin has led the NHL in goal scoring, and won the Rocket Richard Trophy six times in his career. He first did so in 2007–08 season, when he recorded 65 goals and 112 points. That year he also led the league in points, winning the Art Ross Trophy, and also won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player and Lester B. Pearson Award as the best player as voted on by the NHL Players' Association. Ovechkin would again win the Hart Trophy and Pearson Award in 2009, along with the Richard Trophy, and won the Ted Lindsay Award (the renamed Pearson Award) for a third consecutive year in 2010; it also marked the fifth straight year that he was named to the First All-Star Team. After a couple years of decreased scoring, Ovechkin again led the league in goals, earning the Richard Trophy, in 2013, and again winning the Hart Trophy. He would repeat as the Richard Trophy winner from 2014 to 2016, scoring at least 50 goals each season, becoming the first player to win the award six times, and the third to lead the NHL in goals that many times, as well as the third player to score 50 goals in a season seven times. He marked 500 career NHL goals in the 2015–16 season and also led the league in goals for four straight seasons from 2012–13 to 2015–16; as such, Ovechkin is considered by many to be one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of the NHL. In 2017 Ovechkin was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players of all-time.
Internationally Ovechkin has represented Russia in multiple tournaments. His first IIHF tournament was the 2002 World U18 Championship. The following year he made his debut at the World Junior Championship, helping Russia win the gold medal. He played two more years at the World Juniors, as well as once more at the World U18 Championships. Ovechkin's first senior tournament was the 2004 World Championship, and he also played in the World Cup that year. Ovechkin has also played for Russia at the Winter Olympics in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Overall Ovechkin has represented Russia at eleven World Championships and three Olympics in his career, winning the World Championship three times.
Alex Ovechkin is the son of Mikhail Ovechkin and Tatyana Ovechkina, who won two Olympic gold medals while competing for the Soviet women's basketball team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. The first sign of Ovechkin's future came when he was two years old—while in a toy store, he grabbed a toy hockey stick and refused to let go. His parents treasure the picture to this day. Whenever he saw a hockey game on TV, he "dropped all his toys" and ran to the TV, protesting if his parents tried to change the channel. His parents say they knew he would be an athlete when he chose to run up the steps to their 10th floor apartment instead of taking the elevator. They also encouraged him to be athletic, sending him out to play at nearby football pitches and basketball courts.
Sergei, Ovechkin's older brother, had initially introduced him to hockey, and Alex enrolled in hockey school at the age of eight. Soon after he began, however, he had to postpone his hockey career because his parents were unable to take him to the rink. But one of Ovechkin's coaches saw his talent and insisted to his parents that he should continue playing hockey. Sergei died in a car accident when Alex was ten. A childhood friend claims this is one of the reasons Ovechkin is so passionate on the ice. He also has another older brother, Mikhail.
Ovechkin began playing in the Russian Super League (RSL) in Dynamo Moscow at the age of 16. Making his professional debut in the 2001–02 season, he scored four points in 21 games. He would spend three seasons there prior to being drafted by the NHL, and he would rack up 36 goals and 32 assists in 152 career games.