|Ovechkin has 27 goals and 24 assists this season. (Getty Images)|
Everybody seems to have an answer to the question: What's wrong with Alex Ovechkin ?
The hypotheses have stretched from Ovechkin not evolving as a player to his weight, his rock-star status and even him no longer taking performance-enhancing drugs (the insinuation was that he was on them in the first place, obviously).
A recent in-depth expose from the Washington Post's Rick Maese and Tarik El-Bashir offered up a few more possible explanations. One of the most interesting is that his mother Tatiana is part of the problem. Huh?
When you ask those whom Ovechkin trusts most, the name most likely to come up first is Tatiana Ovechkin, his mother, a former athlete herself who lost another son at an early age. Ovechkin and his mother cling tightly to one another, and both the player’s parents shuttle back and forth from Russia to Washington. Ovechkin still spends much of his offseasons in Moscow. Those who know Ovechkin say his mother exerts considerable influence — good and bad — on her son’s life.
“That’s his biggest problem — his mom,” said a person familiar with the situation. “She did what she did for Alex. She played a huge part in his growth, in his career. But it went too far. I understand it’s family, I understand they’re very close — it’s not that. The question is: Is he ever going to grow up? I’m not only talking about hockey. She’s in his life in many other areas — relationships with girls, with friends, with everyone. It’s bizarre.”
Some close to the team suggest the family’s focus on money has put Ovechkin in a class all his own in the Capitals locker room. “No matter how much money the family earned, they were always, ‘It’s not enough, not enough,’” said one person familiar with the family.
Anybody who remembers the Capitals' visit on HBO's 24/7 will recall getting an inside look at Ovechkin's home where he hosts his parents when they are Stateside.
That wasn't all. The Post also mentioned what appears to be a small fracture between Ovechkin and the team. Not anything about having problems with teammates, just he and fellow Russian Alexander Semin have become tighter while slightly more distant from their teammates.Or maybe at the root of it all is that Ovechkin isn't having as much fun anymore, that the pressure has somewhat beaten him down. To me this is without a doubt the saddest of them all. I like when the players have fun, it is more fun for me to watch. I enjoyed Ovechkin's antics such as the hot stick dance even if others didn't.
There obviously isn't a real answer as to "what's wrong" with Ovechkin. There are a lot of factors that might have an impact, his relationship with his mother could be part of that. Or it could just be a matter of him getting older and scoring being down across the entire league. Everybody has a theory.