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Capitals’ Ovechkin trying to get back to ‘what everybody first knew him for’

Feb 20, 2013, 11:21 PM EDT

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers Getty Images

Alex Ovechkin‘s play through the first month of the NHL regular season has come under harsh but fair criticism.

His numbers – goals, assists and points – are far below the individual pace he set for himself during his early years. Five goals, five assists for 10 points in 15 games is a far cry from his more than a point-per-game output from even two years ago.

He’s also a minus-six, and the Capitals are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with a 5-9-1 record.

The move from the left side to the right seems to be one of the causes for his inconsistent offensive output.

But he appears to have the backing of his teammates.

“That’s really important, to get back to what everybody first knew him for, being able to shoot the puck,” Capitals teammate Karl Alzner told CSN Washington.

“He’s getting back to that and the more confidence he gets on that side the more you’re going to see him try to weave in and out.”

But it appears this is more than just a small, inconvenient slump or poor start.

The phrase ‘washed up’ has already been brought up, and Ovechkin is only 27 years old.

There are, of course, those who don’t believe that to be the case.



  1. stakex - Feb 21, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    First of all, whats with so many articles focused on how Ovechkin is struggling? We see one ever other day… and most of them have nothing of value in them. There are other stars struggling just as bad, yet we hear nothing about them. Malkin for example only has 4 goals in 17 games (one less then Ovechkin, after two more games) and is a -3. Sure he has more assists, but hes playing with a super star cast when compared to Ovechkin…. all he has to do is touch the puck from time to time and hes going to wrack up assists. Yet not one word about how a guy who scored 50 goals last year and is playing with an offensive juggernaut, would be on pace for all of 19 goals in an 82 game season.

    When it comes to Ovechkin, we know the story… The guy has had to deal with four different systems, and three difference coaches in the last two years. Not to mention hes trying to learn a new position after playing left wing for 20 years. Throw in the fact hes been stuck with sub par line mates and the guys going to struggle. Its not a shock, or at least it shouldn’t be.

    The good news for Caps and Ovi fans is that there have been flashes of his former self at times this year, and hes taking a lot more shots this year. If he starts to find a little comfort on right wing (he looks lost right now… so thats iffy) and a couple more shots start going in, the guy will be dangerous again.

    • ravenscaps48 - Feb 21, 2013 at 1:12 AM

      God I hope you are right

    • jpelle82 - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      the fact that 60% of ovechkin’s 10 pts are on the pp where he IS playing with an allstar cast (green, backstrom, ribiero) is tell tale of his struggles. 4 out of 5 goals on the pp. i will give him a break on the -6 because no one expects anything more from him and the caps are just dreadful 5 on 5 anyway. as far as the position change for him, i dont know how much longer you can blame it for his struggles especially since he is still top 10 in shots on goal – he is still getting plenty of chances. you can compare him to malkin if you want and they have very similar numbers % wise (malkin 65% of his pts off the pp too) but malkin is drawing more coverage and making the guys around him much better because of it (neal w/ dallas vs neal w/ pittsburgh says it all). people arent scared of ovechkin anymore and he isnt making other guys better or he would have more assists and the caps would be better. i dont like how you say all of a sudden ovechkin has “subpar linemates” when the backstrom ovechkin 1-2 was better than most for years and no one was complaining then. the coaches have put ribiero with him now (best guy on the team) and he still is doing the same. last 2 games ribiero has 1 pt playing with ovechkin.

    • polegojim - Feb 21, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      StakeX – All true… but NONE of which changed his talent level – all excuses for this year.

      He scored all those league leading goals… WITHIN those different systems.

      This year, they hype was – ‘Ovi get’s to return to his core success style’… Pssssst flat – nothing.

      The guy has turned himself into a head case

  2. valoisvipers - Feb 21, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    Fat cat doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ anymore.

  3. ludacrish05 - Feb 21, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    People don’t seem to understand that when Bruce changed his system, it changed ovis plan. When hunter came in, hunter didnt even want ovi in his plan and finally with Oates, he’s getting his chances like “his old self”. I get that it’s been over a year since we seen his firepower but he’s just going with the systems that was given to him. Relax people

    • polegojim - Feb 21, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      Ok… So… if under Oates, Ovi is ‘getting his chances like his old self’…. where is his OLD self?

      The previous systems didn’t keep him from scoring – the evidence is below…then Bruce got more correct and Oates is getting it wrong!

      Can’t have it both ways. The guys is producing like 4th liner.

      Glen Hanlon –
      2006 52 goals/106 pts
      2007 46 goals/92 pts
      2008 65 goals/112 pts
      2009 56 goals/110 pts
      2010 50 goals/109 pts

      Bruce Boudreau –
      2011 32 goals/85 pts

      Dale Hunter –
      2012 38 goals/65 pts

      Adam Oates –
      2013 5 goals/10 pts so far

      1.0 pt per game under Bruce
      1.3 pts per game under Glen (best year)
      0.6 pts per game under Adam… and this is supposed to be ‘Ovi”s’ comfort zone?

      We’ll see what the end of the season shows… but not good.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        get it right if you’re gonna make these comparisons – boudreau was the coach since ’07-’08 – ovechkins 3rd year in the league – he by far had the best production under boudreau especially in 08 – second year with the coach. caps were dumb for letting him go – what a gift for anaheim

      • polegojim - Feb 22, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        Ok… my bad, I got one year wrong…

        The results remain and the MAIN point still stands.

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