TSN's Ray Ferraro, who's quickly become the most astute and palatable in-game analyst in hockey television, did a terrific job last night of isolating and exposing Washington's Alexander Ovechkin in the Capitals' 3-2 shootout loss to the visiting Canadiens. Ferraro highlighted Ovechkin's lack of resolve and repeated and overt displays of frustration with his teammates, and allowed the viewer to come to the conclusion that Ovechkin is a lazy and selfish hockey player, without coming right out and saying so himself. It was an excellent illustration of the malaise that's overtaken Ovechkin, who's on a pace for what would be his least productive season since turning pro six years ago.
What really stood out last night - and what Ferraro's analysis revealed - is that Ovechkin isn't having fun, and that's a radical departure for a player who's natural ability was matched only by his sheer and infectious joy for the game. As recently as last season, if he wasn't the best player in the NHL, Ovechkin was unquestionably the most exciting player to watch. On a what-have-you-done-lately level, he shows only infrequent bursts of his trademark enthusiasm, and barely makes it into a conversation about hockey's top 10. That's still pretty heady company, and 98 percent of the players in the league would love to be averaging a point a game, but at 25, it's way to soon for someone of Ovechkin's remarkable talent to be going from Alexander the Great to Alexander The Still Pretty Good But Something's Missing.