Since his first game with the Capitals back in 2005, Alex Ovechkin has led the club in scoring. Hes also logged more ice time than any other forward by a large margin.
That is beginning to change. Through five games this season, Ovechkin is tied for seventh on the Caps in scoring with just three points (1 goal, 2 assists). But even more telling is his ice time.
Ovechkin is averaging 21.4 shifts and 19:25 of ice time per game. It marks the first time in his NHL career that he is below the 21-minute mark.
By comparison, Ovechkin logged 21:21 of ice time last season,
In 2009-10 he was at 21:47
In 2008-09 he was at 23:00.
In 2007-08 he was at 23:06.
In 2006-07 he was at 21:23.
And in his rookie year he was at 21:37.
So, whats the point? Apparently, coach Bruce Boudreau believes that when it comes to Ovechkin, less may be more.
It is another indicator of Boudreaus team-first approach to coaching this season, in which every player including Ovechkin will need to earn his ice time.
Its a trend worth watching as the season unfolds.