The Ovechkin Decline?
I think there still needs to be a question mark here. We can all look at the stats and go, "yes, obviously he isn't scoring goals at the pace we're used to" and we can all see physically he isn't quite the same as years past. Mostly the skating isn't as good and it looks like the hands could be starting to go with all the bobbled pucks I've seen this season.
At the same time it's still Alex Ovechkin. Would anyone be shocked if he ripped 7 goals in an 8 game span? Or better? In just five games would you be surprised if he had 5 goals?
We're 36 games into the season. It's January 8th when I'm writing this. Ovechkin has just 8 goals on the season. That puts him on pace to score about 18 goals this season. One of the stranger things has been his inability to score while 5v5. He has just 2 total goals while at full and even strength and one of those came at the very end of a power play before the other team could fully get back to 5v5.
I personally will not say that Ovechkin is in a full decline just yet. We have surely seen the physical things giving us clues it is coming and coming fast. But its still Ovechkin. If he goes on a tear in the near future you should not be surprised. Fifty goals is obviously out of the question. Forty goals is as well. But somehow thirty goals still feels possible for "the Gr8".
Until he ends the season at just over or under twenty goals, I can't buy into his decline yet.