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.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: