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Canadian Media Ponders Alex Ovechkin’s Decline



Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) in action during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

It hasn’t been the best start to the season for Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin.

Through the season’s first four games, Ovechkin has yet to tally a single goal. While he is tied for the team lead in assists with two, his scoring prowess — which he is known for, above all else — has been non-existent, which is especially problematic as he pursues the all-time goals scored record.

Ovechkin’s struggles are starting to be notice outside of the nation’s capital.

“There were a couple of positive signs in this game versus Montreal, but overall this year, what I’ve seen from Alexander Ovechkin — he just, to me, hasn’t had the same level of physical or mental engagement in the game,” TSN’s Craig Button, a former NHL general manager, said Saturday.

“He doesn’t look like that player that’s driving play, that wants the puck. When you watch him at his best, he’s skating, he’s driving plays, using his body to deliver body checks, he’s in that spot, ready with his stick. I haven’t seen that from him this year.”

Sportsnet’s Michael Amato echoed Button, noting that Ovechkin went without a shot on goal in back-to-back games for the first time in his career during that four-game span.

“It’s still early, of course,” Amato wrote, “but even last year Ovechkin failed to hit 300 shots for the first time in his career over a full season.”

Ovechkin’s next chance on the ice comes Tuesday, when the Capitals host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jared Serre covers the Washington Capitals for Washington Hockey Now. He is a graduate of West Virginia University.