Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/13/11 at 12:09 PM ET
from Dan Daly of The Washington Times,
Ovie missed some time before the opener because of the death of an uncle. And yes, the season is still young. Heck, in other years we wouldn’t have given it a second thought if he hadn’t put the puck in the net in the first two games. But this isn’t like other years. This is the year after he finished 14th in the league in goals — he had never been out of the top four before — and only managed seven on the power play.
Ovechkin’s famous boast is that “Russian machine never breaks.” But “Russian machine” may, at some point, start getting fewer miles per gallon. Are we at that point now? Is Ovie no longer an unstoppable force of nature? Has he devolved into a lower life form — from superstar to very good hockey player?
Asked to evaluate his performance this season, Ovechkin said, “I think minus-2 is not that good. But I have a couple of chances to score goals. If one goes in. … I think our line has to play better 5-on-5. [It was on the ice for two even-strength goals by the Lightning.]”
Ovechkin is closing in on his 500th NHL game, hard as it is to believe. You wonder about the toll those games have taken, given how physically he plays and how much of a target he is. Granted, he’s 26, but is it possible he’s a high-mileage 26 - 26 going on 30?
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