Alex Ovechkin: What Has Happened to the Great Number Eight?

by on September 19th, 2010
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Alex Ovechkin was the most dominating and explosive player I have seen in years, when he came into the league as a rookie in 2005. He did things on the ice that I have never seen before and now I am sitting here wondering where Ovie has gone. Since 2005 there has been the great debate on who was better: Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin? Today, that debate is over. As of now Sidney Crosby is the most dominating player in the world.

When they both came into the league after the lock out, I’ll be honest that I didn’t know anything about Ovechkin. I heard about Crosby for a few years. I remember in 2003 when I was playing junior hockey here in New Jersey, guys on my team talking about this 15 year old kid up north named Sidney Crosby. So when he was drafted first over-all in 2005, it really came as no surprise to me. Ovechkin came out of nowhere. He put up 52 goals in his rookie season and I could not believe the things he did on the ice. He could check, stick handle and had a rocket shot. What has happened to him the last 2 seasons?

One answer may be that teams have caught on to him. He always breaks to the middle when he is rushing down the ice and crosses the blue line. Coaches have wanted him to start breaking to the outside, but he continues to move towards the net and defenders know that. They know the big one-timer is coming from the high slot on the power play. When Ovechkin is out there, you know his teammates are looking for him to take that big shot.

At 26 years old, he should be in his prime and not his decline. He does the play the game so hard and with so much passion that maybe his body is breaking down at an early age. He hasn’t had any significant injuries in his career, no knee problems or shoulder injuries. Still when you play the game that hard for that many games, one can imagine that you start to break down. I personally believe that Ovechkin is fine and he just has lost some of that passion for the game. It will come back before the end of this season.

The Capitals just fired Bruce Boudreau, and there has been speculation of a rift between the coach and his all-star winger. With someone like Dale Hunter taking over as head coach, maybe this will light a spark under Ovechkin and he will start to play like the Ovechkin we all loved to watch. It would be great to see Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos battling it out for the MVP once again.

Over the next few weeks I truely believe that Ovechkin is going to pick his game back up. A new coach to play under will light the spark and he will start to dominate the score sheet once again. Alex Ovechkin is going to start to heat up!


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