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Sounds like Alex Ovechkin isn’t having much fun in Washington

Mar 10, 2012, 10:29 AM EDT

Alex Ovechkin AP

The Washington Post has an extensive story today trying to figure out just what’s going wrong with Alex Ovechkin. He’s mired in what’s the worst season of his career while the Capitals are struggling to make the playoffs.

In the extensive look at what’s going on with him on and off the ice, Post writers Rick Maese and Tarik El-Bashir find out a few things from players and those who wished to speak anonymously in order to be candid:

— 2010 might’ve been the turning point in his career and life. First, the loss to Canada in the Olympics, then being suspended for a hit from behind on Brian Campbell, followed by losing to Montreal in the first round of the playoffs. All three things combined to hurt his mental state on the game.

— Ovechkin’s friendship with fellow young stars Mike Green, Alexander Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom has changed over the years. What used to be a tight-knit friendship has seen the four of them all grow apart. Hey, getting older stinks that way.

— Ovechkin’s close relationship with his parents, notably his mother Tatiyana, appears to have rankled some in the organization. From handling his contract negotiations to being involved in his personal life, they feel his mother is too involved in his goings on.

“That’s his biggest problem — his mom,” said a person familiar with the situation. “She did what she did for Alex. She played a huge part in his growth, in his career. But it went too far. I understand it’s family, I understand they’re very close — it’s not that. The question is: Is he ever going to grow up? I’m not only talking about hockey. She’s in his life in many other areas — relationships with girls, with friends, with everyone. It’s bizarre.”

— Oddly enough, Ovechkin is sensitive to what’s being said about him. Former Caps PR man and current interim head of College Hockey, Inc. Nate Ewell says: “He reads message boards. He knows what people say about him. He’s very cognizant of that stuff.”

The entire story is well worth the read to dig in more, but it paints the picture of a superstar stuck in a frustrating situation on a mediocre team for the time being. It’s sad to read of Ovechkin’s struggles but also curious at the quotes given by those who chose to remain nameless. There’s a lot more going on in Washington that isn’t being told.

  1. billobrienschindimple - Mar 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Article doesn’t mention all the blow he’s doing.

  2. jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    mo money mo problems

  3. Stiller43 - Mar 10, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Aweee!!! Cutee.

  4. sportsfreak13 - Mar 10, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    So his moms the captain?

  5. jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    …after signing ovechkin to 124 million contract in 2008…”I’m a risk-taker,” said owner Ted Leonsis, “And if you’re going to make a long-term investment, who else would you do it with? This takes away any of the issues of how committed we are to winning a Cup, how committed we are to keeping a team together.”
    so much for keeping a team together and winning a cup…i agree with the risk taker part though. amazing how money and steroids can change a guy

    • ravenscaps48 - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      Steroids? Grow up you tool!

      • jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        waiting for that. you can keep your blinders on if you want to. cant deny the evidence though. thomas and nagel both arrested in 2009 and 2010, thomas supplied nagel who was a dr for the caps players and supplied the roids to un-named cap players. thomas also said he dealt them directly to capitals players. a direct link was made between the two dealers through shipping and financial records and the only teams named were the caps and nats conveniently named by both guys. the nhl and caps did a good job of diffusing it by saying they will conduct their own investigation (lol). and conveniently ovechkin has gotten fat and sucked balls ever since…

    • stakex - Mar 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      With all of the very real and documented reasons Ovechkin might be struggling… your clinging to some laughable speculation, fueled mostly in recent time by some idiot Penguins reporter with absolutely no proof, about steroid use? Wow, get a life man.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        a penguins reporter made a comment 2 years after the real life events and investigation was conducted. we’ve known about this since the original arrest back in 09. steigerwald said what everyone else has been assuming in the following 2 years of aftermath. ovechkin clearly sucks without his roids.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        its a pretty viable reason for his decline. he hasnt been hurt, he has the same if not better team around him, he has declined under 2 different coaches now, and he has showed up fat and out of shape 2 yrs in a row now to camp. i’m just stating what i think is the obvious. how often do we see such a decline in production from a superstar like this without it being injury or age related? this is all on him, and there’s no other explanation imo, unless he is just sucking on purpose…

      • stakex - Mar 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        The real life investigation never turned up any proof Ovechkin (or any Caps player for that matter) used roids. In fact, Ovechkin was never even connected with the doctor who was arrested… it was other a few Caps player that were.

        Steigerwald made idiotic comments based on awful assumptions… and hes been the only member of the hockey media to make such comments (in fact, most of the hockey media attacked his comments). So no, his view is not what everyone has been assuming.

      • stakex - Mar 10, 2012 at 1:02 PM

        A viable reason for his decline with no other explination eh? Did you even read the article referenced in this story? Its six pages of reasons why Ovechkin is having trouble… none of which are steroid use. I also don’t think any Caps fan (or anyone not trying to make a false point) would ever call this Caps team better then their team a couple years ago…. thats just funny. As for him not being injured…. how do you know? In fact there was a lot of talk last year that Ovechkin played injured most of the season. Again, your making up or ignoring actual facts to prove a false point that has no facts behind it.

        The simple fact that you think steroids are responsible for all of Ovechkins issues shows you know nothing what so ever about how steroids actually work and what they do for a player. All they do is bulk you up and make you a bit stronger. They do NOT:

        1. Make your shot more accurate (an issue Ovi has had the last couple years)
        2. Make you a better stick handler, or make your moves more effective (Ovechkin has had clear trouble making one on one moves)
        3. Help you score goals.
        4. Make you a better passer, hence driving up your assist numbers.
        5. Make you in better shape.
        6. Allow you to better read the other teams defense

        All of those are issues Ovechkin has right now, and none of them would have ever been helped with steroid use. In fact, some of them might be HURT by them… which is why there is no steroid problem in the NHL. Could they make you a bit faster? Perhaps… but they would also make you heavier (more bulk means more weight) so there is no promis you will be any faster on skates with roids. They may also make your shot a bit harder, but they don’t make it any more accurate. Other then that they have absolutely no advantage to an NHL player, and nothing about steroid use could account for Ovechkisn play in past year and nothing about being off steroids would account for this drop in performance.

        Again there are a ton of reasons for Ovechkins decline that are based in reality, and steroid use is not even in the discussion. There is no proof, and it makes little sense. If you want to continue to preach it, go ahead… but you look like a fool doing it.

    • eastcoastcynic - Mar 10, 2012 at 8:26 PM

      I’ve wondered about Mike Green’s injury issues in the past year and a half. Also He and Ovechkin have pretty huge foreheads:/

  6. mojosmagic - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    So Alex is a Mommy’s boy.Sounds like Lindros and his his controlling family which drove Bob Clark nuts.

  7. stakex - Mar 10, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    A few points from the article:

    1. Ovechkin might party wayyy too much, but he is hardly the only Caps player to do it. Several Caps players have been known to party to the wee hours of the morning in fact, and yet you never hear about it. So I don’t know about a double standard, at least when it comes to life style choices away from the rink.

    2. Ovechkin’s mom being so involved in his life at 26 is certainly a little creepy. I’m 25, and very close to my mom… but I certainly don’t let her make any life decisions for me. I think Ovi needs to grow up a bit.

    3. The one thing the article hardly talks about is the Caps shift to a system that does not allow Ovechkin to play his game. I still think that is the single biggest reason for Ovechkin’s struggles. He is a pure run and gun player being told to play a totaly different game then he knows… and its not working. In 09-10 Ovechkin scored 50 goals and was a +45 (in 72 games)… hes never going to post a better plus/minus number or more goals as a more defensivly responsible player. Its just not going to happen. Who ever thought it was a good idea to try and “fix” that part of his game, which wasn’t broken, should be fired. McPee I’m looking in your direction.

    4. At one point in the article, it talks about Ovechkin not passing enough which is pissing guys off. Yet, later in the article is says the entire locker room is telling him to shoot the puck more. You can’t have it both ways. Either he is a puck hog whos not passing enough, or hes passing too much and not taking enough shots. It can’t be both, and judging by the lower shot total this year, I think its not shooting enough.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      i dont see any shift in any system affecting ovechkins game. he still doesnt play defense. he still floats between the red and his own blue line waiting for the breakout, just like he always has. he still looks for the hits in the offensive zone while the puck is already on its way out. he is still doing the same off-wing drive to the net or shot from the top of the circle through a d man. he still plays all over the ice on the pp including the point, which he has always done. his old tricks just arent working for him anymore. whether thats a conditioning problem (roids related) or the league has figured him out…who knows – i do know that if your not moving forward then you’re going moving backward.

  8. drewsylvania - Mar 10, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Alex Oedipus?

  9. bensawesomeness - Mar 10, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Reads the message boards?

    Hi Ovi!!!

  10. rsl22 - Mar 10, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Hmmm….Alex struggling….I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Semin has been hugely inconsistent, Green has been out of the lineup for 80% of the last two seasons, Backstrom playing with broken hand for a long stretch of the end of last season and the playoffs, and now Backstrom out altogether….

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with Aucoin, Beagle and Perreault being the 2nd, 3rd and 4th line centers. I’m sure it has nothing to do with Knuble playing like a 43-year-old. I’m sure it has nothing to do with Ward being awful night in and night out.

    Is OV playing great hockey? Nope. There’s no doubt he’s playing pretty marginal by his standards. But there’s also no question that the team around him is either injured, inconsistent and/or incompetent.

  11. rsl22 - Mar 10, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    I’m sure lots of people will say that he’s supposed to make the players around him better….but honestly, some of these players belong in the AHL. He probably is making players around him better.

    Backstrom has missed 30+ games but is still SECOND ON THE TEAM IN SCORING!

    Brooks Laich is making $4MM, has 12 goals.
    Ward is making $3MM, has 6 goals (I think 2 empty netters).
    Semin is a former 40-goal scorer, has 17 goals.
    Knuble is making $2MM, has 3 goals.
    Chimera has 3 goals since Christmas, and he’s third on the team in goal scoring.

    The team lost Fleischman and Fehr, two top 6 forwards. They were replaced with Ward and Halpern, two borderline healthy scratches.

  12. mbuff - Mar 10, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Come to Buffalo Ovie! We’d love to have you here…..

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