Washington Capitals ahead Alex Ovechkin is one of the best objective scorer of his period and arguably one of the best to ever play within the NHL. After practically twenty years there may be one opponent that’s lastly beginning to gradual him down, and it isn’t one which he sees on the ice. It’s Father Time.
Whilst Ovechkin began to get into his late 30s in current seasons he by no means confirmed any indicators of slowing down offensively. Only a season in the past he scored 42 objectives in his age-37 season, which got here one yr after he grew to become the oldest participant (36) to ever rating 50 objectives in a season.
That continued dominance and tempo noticed him quickly climb the NHL’s all-time objective leaderboard and introduced him as much as the No. 2 spot behind solely Wayne Gretzky. He entered the 2023-24 season simply 72 objectives behind Gretzky’s file of 894 and it appeared to solely be a matter of when, and never if, he would take excessive spot.
By way of the primary quarter of the 2023-24 season, Ovechkin has not solely struggled to attain objectives, he’s off to what’s by far the worst begin of his profession. Getting into play on Friday Ovechkin has simply 5 objectives within the Capitals’ first 26 video games, whereas additionally trying like a participant that’s truly beginning to present his age within the league. His taking pictures proportion is at an all-time low, his shots-on-goal fee has plummeted to the bottom mark of his profession (3.6 per sport, down from his 4.70 profession common) and he simply seems to be slower.
His 5 objectives are the bottom complete he has ever had by 26 video games in a season and solely the second time he has had fewer than 10 objectives at this level within the season. Over the primary 18 years of his profession, he averaged 15 complete objectives, 5 power-play objectives and 120 photographs on objective by his first 26 video games. This season it’s simply 5 complete objectives, one power-play objective and solely 94 photographs on objective.
The excellent news for the Capitals is his gradual begin has not stored them from remaining aggressive within the Japanese Convention. The dangerous information for Ovechkin is that for the primary time, it’s truly calling into query whether or not or not he can catch Gretzky. As of Friday, he’s 67 objectives away from tying him and 68 from passing him. If he can get again to the identical stage we noticed from him a season in the past then he would finally cross Gretzky someday subsequent season. However that may be a enormous “if” at this level and at his present fee he may not have sufficient video games or seasons within the NHL to get throughout the end line.