If anyone was actually doubting Alex Ovechkin would return from the KHL when the NHL lockout was resolved, have no more doubts.
On Monday, Ovechkin arrived back in Washington, D.C., and here is proof.
When asked how excited he is to be back in Washington and playing in front of Caps fans, he said, "one thing I was missing and that kind of sick crowd."
Yes those were the exact words, no typos.
We get the point of what he was trying to say. If I had to interpret what he meant, I'd say he was trying to say he was "missing the sick crowd that the Capitals bring to the Verizon Center each game."
He also said for Capitals fans to get ready to "rock the red" again.
It is a question whether or not Ovechkin will get back to his form of scoring 50-plus goals in a season. It is very unlikely he does it this year, as the NHL has confirmed the season will be shortened to 48 games from the usual 82.
Let's take a look at Ovechkin's numbers since he entered the league in the 2005-06 NHL season:
*Statistics courtesy of ESPN.com.
It is easy to see that his production has dipped off since his 2009-10 season where he racked up 109 points. His plus-minus ratio has even dropped in a two-year span from plus-45 to minus-eight.
Those numbers tell me good things haven't happened recently when he is on the ice and that he needs to step up his defensive play. Defense creates offense in the NHL. Ovechkin is notorious for his lack of effort on defense at times.
Hopefully he is able to score at least 30 goals in this abbreviated season. There is no reason for me to believe he can't do it. In 31 games in the KHL during the lockout, Ovechkin racked up 19 goals and 21 assists. He was fourth in the KHL in goals scored (KHL.ru).
It's great to see Ovechkin back in the nation's capital. I am forever grateful that the lockout is over.