Everyone has been wondering what, exactly, is wrong with Alex Ovechkin this season. Ovechkin has just 56 points in 57 games this season, well below his usual pace, and as Neil Greenberg notes, the odds of Ovechkin having this few goals in this number of games is microscopic. The theories have ranged from the simple (the league has started to figure out his moves), to the logical (the Capitals are playing more defensive-minded), to the zany (he needs to get his eyes checked).
What if it's as simple as him being in worse shape than before? That's the theory expressed by Justin Bourne of Yahoo! Sports' Puck Daddy.
After watching him slog through over 25 minutes of ice time in Phoenix last night, I figured he was just on the ice way, way too much. And, his TOI (time-on-ice) is insanely high - fifth among forwards in the league - but compared to the rest of his illustrious career, those numbers are paltry. He's averaged 21:45 per game this year, his lowest total since 2006-2007. Even his average shift length is 1:01, low for him.
This leads me to believe that he`s simply "out of shape," which is in quotations because he's in better shape than everyone reading this article, but not better than himself in previous seasons.
Ovechkin did have a pretty eventful summer, after all. He did seem to enjoy himself in Russia, and maybe he wasn't as focused on his training. Indeed, as Dmitry Chesnokov notes, he hasn't worked with his personal trainer in over a year. So maybe he didn't train as hard, who knows? And if so, maybe he's reaching the point where he can't do that anymore. Maybe his body needs more attention and preparation.
It's a plausible theory. Then again, nobody really knows, otherwise it would have been fixed already. Maybe this theory ends up going to the trash can along with all of the others.