Many Washington capitals fans, and for that matter, many hockey fans around the world are asking the question that seems to have no answer. What has happened to Alex Ovechkin, and when will he return to the form from two seasons ago when he scored 50 goals, with 109 points.
The answer may be one that fans of the Russian superstar may not want to hear. Asking when Ovechkin will return to form is like asking when the U.S economy will return to normal. Unfortunately, the answer to both may be never.
Alex Ovechkin is a different player. He's become predictable, and the checks that he's delivering, which once seemed part of a vicious two-way game, now seem desperate, undisciplined, and even reckless. He's playing more like a spoiled hockey brat than a consistently hard working superstar that’s looking to better his game.
Last week the player that Ovechkin has been compared to for his entire career returned to the ice after almost a year out of the game with concussion like symptoms, and Sidney Crosby wasted little time in letting Ovechkin, and the rest of the hockey world know that he is the standard by which all players judged.
Crosby has seven points in just three games, as the Penguins are 2-0-1 with 13 goals since his return. Ovechkin regularly would turn in six and seven points over many three game stretches during the first four years of his career.
The Great 8 averaged 1.31 points per game, and although he's still a point-per-game player, it certainly does not seem Ovechkin is nearly as effective or offensively intimidating on the ice.
Ovechkin scored his first goal at home this past Friday night versus the Rangers, and has just 17 points in 21 games this season. Through 21 games last season, The Great 8 had 26 points on his to career lows in goals (32) and points (85).
He's on pace to match his goal output from last season, but he's on pace for just 68-points. Unheard of three seasons ago when it comes to Ovechkin.
Ovechkin has fallen out of favor with his head coach and is not exactly seen in the film room looking to improve his game these days.
Ovechkin has proved to be stubborn, and chances are, the fallout from his unhappiness and the Capitals inconsistencies will cost head coach Bruce Boudreau his job. Ultimately this is all about winning the Stanley Cup, and without one, will Ovechkin really ever be considered "Great".
Here are five reasons The Great 8 is struggling mightily since the 2010 post season versus the Montreal Canadiens.