The Fall of the Russian Empire

What is wrong with Russian Players these days?
I'm talking about the marquee players; the Malkins, the Ovechkins, the Kovalchuks, and how they seem to be struggling this season.

Let's look at the stats, shall we?

Alexander Ovechkin: 44 games, 15 goals, 30 assists for 45 points. Now, there's nothing wrong with being a point a game player, but that's not Alexander Ovechkin. There is nothing wrong with having 15 goals at this point of the season; but once again, that's not Alexander Ovechkin. He sits tenth in NHL scoring, which is low for him, and he has, get this, two powerplay goals ALL SEASON LONG. What the hell? Since when does the great 8 have less powerplay goals than say, Mark Recchi (6), Andrew Ladd (4), or David Bolland (3)? Something is missing from Ovechkin's game, and he simply isn't the player he was last year.
Not to say he's the only Russian struggling;

Do I even dare mention Ilya Kovalchuk? The hundred million dollar man with ten goals and twenty three measly points through forty games? I get that the contract has to be weighing on his mind, but his performance has been nothing short of pathetic. Ready for the worst statistic of all? He's a minus 29. A MINUS 29!! Is that even possible in this day and age? He is doubling Ovechkin's powerplay production though; he has 4 to Ovie's 2! Outstanding.

Let's take a look at Evgeni Malkin now. Where has this guy gone? Kevin Bacon as hollow man was easier to find than this guy. He has fifteen goals and thirty five points through forty games, and he's been invisible most nights. Remember a while back when Sidney Crosby went down with injury, and Malkin took the penguins on his back and scored 113 points to win the Art Ross? That was a long time ago. I wouldn't expect the same would happen this season.

Here are some more stats to throw at you:
Of the top 20 NHL point getters this season, 2 are Russian. Alexander Ovechkin at 10th place, at Pavel Datsyuk in 20th.

Of the top 20 NHL goal scorers, there is one russian; Alexander Semin in 18th place.

So what is it exactly that is wrong with Mother Russia? Does anybody know? Are they all just really tired of paying escrow?

Thoughts and ideas in the comments section please.


Phil T's picture

Ovechkin is obviously playing injured or not at 100%. Not sure about Malkin but Kovalchuk has been cursed by Don Waddell.

George Prax's picture

How can it be so obvious Phil? It's not like the rest of the team is playing up to par. I think the Caps in general are just think that they're superstars and they're acting like everything should be handed to them, including the Stanley Cup. They're not listening to the coach and they don't realize they need to change or else losing game 7s at home is just going to keep happening to them. And of course, Ovechkin is their leader and best player so he has to take a large part of the blame.

I can't explain why russians in general are playing like this, but it definitely doesn't surprise me.

Jason Pietroniro's picture

OV is being micromanaged. Unfortunately Bruce B's attempt at turning some of his guys into two way players might be the worst idea in couching history. Who cares if he doesn't back check. OV was a + 1,000,000 last season and he sucked defensively. Caps do play like pretty boys, but I put most of the blame on their coaching. It's the type of team that needs to play their game. Uncoachable if you take to much control. Which is what Bruce said he was going to do early in the year to avoid losing to overly defensive teams in the playoffs.

The other guys are just lazy Russians.

Phil T's picture

It's obvious because
1) He just got a cortisone shot in his wrist, which is an indication of chronic tendonitis / inflammation that has lasted for a long time and didn't go away with other treatment
2) His shooting percentage dropped by a dramatic 50%

George Prax's picture

Didn't know about the cortisone shot. I concede. I still think part of it is a team attitude thing. You can tell they think they're hot shit and it's affecting their play.

Phil T's picture

Well one of the things the Caps are doing this year is playing better team defense... so that's another reason his numbers have gone down.