Monday night marked Sidney Crosby's triumphant return to the NHL, with his season starting with a two-goal, two-assist flourish. Now, we patiently wait for Alex Ovechkin's breakout. The Washington Capitals earned a huge win Monday, with Alexander Semin a $6.7 million healthy scratch. It was Bruce Boudreau's 200th career NHL win and it's worth noting that he got to that milestone faster than any other NHL coach -- a helpful reminder for those who are ready to run him out of Washington.
Ovechkin played well in finishing with an assist but was held without a goal for the fifth consecutive game. He managed just one shot on goal and is on pace for 30 goals, which would be the lowest total of his career.
Washington won the game, but it can't continue long term with $6.7 million in the press box and zero goal production from its best player. Boudreau's challenge now is to get everybody to respond to his coaching, not just the depth players.
The theories for Ovechkin's and the Capitals' recent struggles are varied. There's been some suggestion that Ovechkin isn't playing hard in an attempt to win a power struggle with Boudreau. I had a couple of sources suggest that was highly unlikely. "Is he not scoring on purpose because he doesn't like Bruce? I don't think so," one NHL source said. "The guy lives for goals."
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