4 Early Signs That Alex Ovechkin Will Not Return to Superstar Form in 2013

Robert Wood@@bleachRWreachrCorrespondent IFebruary 8, 2013

4 Early Signs That Alex Ovechkin Will Not Return to Superstar Form in 2013

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    Before Thursday night's tilt on the road against the arch-rival Pittsburgh Penguins, the Washington Capitals were dead last in the NHL with a mere five points in the standings after 10 games played.

    Alex Ovechkin has not done his share to help his team pull out of their collective funk.

    Ovechkin had only two goals and five points before the game against Pittsburgh, and this is after two straight sub-par seasons. Will we ever see the old Alex Ovechkin again?

    Here are four early signs that Alex Ovechkin will not return to superstar form in 2013.

4. Not Shooting Enough

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    Alex Ovechkin likes to shoot the hockey puck.

    Ovie led the NHL in shots in each of the first six seasons of his career.

    But this season, he has not shown the same proclivity.

    Through the first 10 games of the 2013 NHL season, Ovechkin was averaging only 3.80 shots per game. If he continues at this rate, Ovechkin will log the lowest average of shots per game of his eight-year career.

    Ovechkin can't score if he doesn't shoot the puck.

3. Can't Shoot Straight

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    Despite the overwhelming number of shots in his career, Ovechkin has been a relatively accurate shooter.

    He compiled a shooting percentage of at least 10 percent during each of his first five seasons in the NHL, and six of his first seven.

    But this season, Ovechkin's shooting percentage has dipped badly. Through the first 10 games of the season, Ovechkin had scored on only 5.3 percent of his shots. This number easily represents the lowest of his career.

    In fact, this would be the first season Ovechkin's shooting percentage has ever fallen below 8.7 percent.

2. Where Are the Goals?

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    Throughout his career, Alex Ovechkin has been a prolific goal scorer.

    He has reached the 50-goal plateau four times in seven full seasons, while reaching the 60-goal plateau once. Ovechkin's elite goal-scoring made him a superstar.

    But during the last two seasons, Ovechkin scored a total of 70 goals. That performance knocked him from the ranks of the league's superstars.

    And if he continues his play this season, Ovechkin won't regain his superstar status any time soon. Through 10 games, Ovie had scored only 0.20 goals per game this season. That's a far cry from leading the NHL in that statistic for three consecutive seasons, from 2007-10.

    It seems like a lifetime ago.

1. Struggling to Understand

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    Alex Ovechkin knows he his struggling.

    But as Ovechkin explained to Katie Carrera of The Washington Post after eight games of the season, he is struggling to understand why:

    Maybe it’s just different hockey. Maybe it’s just different size of ice. It’s kind of surprise me because out there [in Russia], you can see, lots of guys have lots of points and goals. Right now, I’m standing here I have only three points and it kind of embarrass me but it is what it is. 

    Alex Ovechkin better stop struggling soon. Because as Alex Ovechkin goes, so go the Washington Capitals.