Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Some Thoughts on Ovechkin

Over at RLD Hockey, blogged about Washington Capitals’ sniper Alexander Ovechkin and his struggles.

You can either click here to go to the site and read it or you can continue below. Let me know what you folks think:

When talking about the game’s best players this season, hockey fans will hear names like Sidney Crosby, Steve Stamkos, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Martin St. Louis, Tim Thomas, Ryan Kesler, etc.

There is one key player that is not being talked about as much this season as he has been in past seasons: Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin.

This is quite a surprise given how he and Crosby are the faces of the ‘new’ NHL. For Ovechkin, it has been a rather unusal quiet season for someone who has 52 points (19 goals and 32 assists) in 51 games. Obviously, the glaring stat when it comes to ‘Ovie’ is his 19 goals. He’s on pace for just 30 goals, which would be the lowest total of his career.

On the other side of the coin, the Capitals appear to have an even more unselfish version of Ovechkin as he has 32 assists. He has been setting up many of his teammates this season and proving to folks in the hockey world that he can do more than just score goals.


With that said, one has to wonder why he is not scoring goals like he used to. Here a few possible reasons:

- Better defensive systems implemented by opponents: Opposing teams are keying in on Ovechkin more than ever, often putting two guys on him rather than one while always making sure to know where he is on the ice. Simply put, opposing teams have cut down on the amount of open ice Ovechkin has to maneuver.

- Capitals focusing more on team defense: Head coach Bruce Boudreau has the team focusing more on its defense this season rather than its offense. Most fans will notice how they are involved in more low-scoring games. As such, the team is sacrificing their high-octane offense for better team defenese.

With all of that said, who is to say that Ovechkin just cannot flip on a switch and crank out some goals? He has apparently told members of the media that he can turn it on whenever he wants.

If that is really the case, why hasn’t Ovechkin done so yet and what is he waiting for? More importantly, what has happened to the Alexander Ovechkin that all hockey fans have come to know and love with his great goal scoring prowess? Time will tell as to whether the sleeping giant will be awakened or not.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, washington+capitals

Comments

Avatar

He came to camp out of shape. He looked like a truckdriver at the beginning of the year, not an athlete.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/03/11 at 07:39 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/03/11 at 04:39 PM ET

I know that I read that rumor at least once at the beginning of the season.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 02/03/11 at 07:57 PM ET

Avatar

Just look at his release now compared to two years ago, there’s a huge discrepency. It used to be if he got a shot off in the offensive zone, the goalie most likely didn’t see it, whether he saved it or not.

I think the pressure that the team has put on themselves (owner, to GM, to coach, to players (as was extremely clear in HBO 24/7, and elsewhere)) to be as good as Pittsburgh first of all, and to win the Cup above all else (not that they shouldn’t, but they have such a focus that they need to win this year that it seems to be an albatross around their neck choking them, instead of a more measured approach to the regular season) is effecting the team, especially their offensive leaders.

Also, the Olympic Russian team: Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Nabokov, Gonchar, Semin, Volchenkov, & Markov (season-ending injury again). Every NHL’er on that team is having the worst seasons of their careers. There’s something there I believe.

Posted by NathanBC on 02/03/11 at 08:01 PM ET

Avatar

Something is wrong with him physically.  He’s not the same player.  I don’t buy his turn on whenever he wants either because obviously he hasn’t done that.

Here’s a stat you should include.  He has as many shots this year as he did in past seasons at this time.  It’s not like he’s shooting less.  Teams are probably used to his skating toward the middle of the ice and trying to use a dman as a screen wrister.

Posted by Bruce on 02/03/11 at 08:38 PM ET

Avatar

What was wrong with him physically is he lost just enough overall quickness (release, footspeed, everything) by coming to camp out of shape that defensemen handled him well at the beginning of the year.

His game looks more normal now than it did 3 months ago, but by the time he got closer to ideal playing condition, Boudreau moved the Capitals’ offensive play from the circles to the boards. Ovechkin’s boardwork was never good, so that’s what’s screwing him now, even as it helps the numbers of pluggers like Hendricks, who’ve been working the boards their whole careers.

If Ovechkin wants to be back up there with the Stamkos’s and Sedins of the world, he needs to start doing what they do in the offseason, instead of sitting on a boat with two models drinking beer all summer.

To be fair, though, I’m not 100% I would make that tradeoff, if I was him.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/03/11 at 09:55 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.