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Ovechkin Struggling

Alex Ovechkin is officially in a slump. The score sheets say so. My eyeballs say so, too.

But, as I sit here in the Tampa airport replaying the past few games in my sleep deprived brain, I can't put my finger on the source of his struggles.

This much, however, isn't up for debate: We're witnessing one of the least productive stretches of his brief but brilliant NHL career.

In last night's 3-2 shootout loss to the Lightning, the 21-year-old all-star finished without a point for the fourth time in six games. During that span, he's only got a goal (set up by a crazy bounce of the Verizon Center boards against the Rangers) and a secondary assist against the Kings.

He also misfired in the shootout against the Lightning, making him 1 for 8 in the tiebreaker this season.

At this point, Ovechkin is going to need a few multiple goal games to match the 52 he scored as a rookie. Because he's fallen four off last year's pace.

Something doesn't compute. He's getting plenty of ice time (25 minutes the past two games). He's taking shots (a total of 12 the past two games). He's not hurt (to my knowledge.)

I wanted to talk to him last night, but he wasn't around when I got to the dressing room. And thanks to a 7:30 start, overtime and a shootout, I was left with so little time to write, I couldn't afford to wait him out. And I won't see him today because there's no practice.

Slumps happen, I know. Maybe that's all this is.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 16, 2007; 8:21 AM ET
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