We had noted in the past how Alex Ovechkin's weight had changed during his 5 seasons in the NHL:
Here is Alex' weight over the years:
2003/04: 200 lbs
2005/06: 212 lbs
2008/09: 220 lbs
2009/10: 233 lbs
2010/11: 234 lbs
As you can see the biggest change was between 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons. So we've got DJ King is at 233, Mike Knuble at 227, John Erskine at 224, Jeff Schultz at 232.
And here's an excerpt from the interview with Sergei Gimaev who is considered the best KHL hockey commentator. Gimaev also played for Red Army club and was one of the veterans when Sergei Fedorov joined Red Army CSKA team as a rookie. Fedorov considered himself very lucky that he played with Gimaev.
Pavel Lysenkov, SovSport.ru, Dec. 10, 2010: Don't you think Ovechkin is carrying some extra pounds?
Sergei Gimaev: I agree on that. With his 6'2" height to have weight of 234 lbs is a bust ... More weight, more the load on your joints, you lose explosiveness. Sasha is also involved a bit too much in a physical play, which is needed only when necessary. Ideally Ovechkin should have the weight around 220 pounds (that means he needs to lose 14 pounds - tj). Now he is just too big! He has to pull 234 pounds of his own weight! It's not worth for Sasha to be so muscular. This is reflected on his the statistics.
But I will always defend Ovechkin. He understands that he needs to win the Stanley Cup. It's now or never! Sasha knows that he must win the team trophy with Washington Capitals. And the title of top NHL scorer is important, but not so much anymore.
Ovechkin can still score as many goals with his extra weight. He did it last year, he lead the NHL in goals per game especially before Vancouver Olympics.
Ovechkin probably never was the fastest skater, but he definitely was the most explosive skater. He could accelerate from zero to full speed faster than anybody else in the NHL. His most beautiful goal vs. Montreal was all about explosiveness.
He also could recover the puck easily by catching up with the opponent. Nowadays when he plays the point on a power play and gives away the puck... you'd better watch out.
So what Ovechkin should do? Go on a hunger strike? Lose some pounds? Maybe, but he is probably already lighter than he was when he entered the training camp this season. Also losing explosiveness is a natural process. That's why hockey players record the most productive seasons when they are young. And Ovi has probably only one more year left to beat his record of 65 goals in 2007-08 season (Note that in that record season he had the ideal weight Sergei Gimaev is talking about, around 220 pounds).
Most goals scored in one NHL season:
Hull 90/91 - 86 goals age 26 Fedorov 93/94 - 56 goals age 24 Yzerman 88/89 - 65 goals age 23 Lemieux 88/89 - 85 goals age 23 Selanne 92/93 - 76 goals age 22 Lindros 95/96 - 47 goals age 22 Bure 93/94 - 60 goals age 22 Gretzky 81/82 - 92 goals age 20
As you can see it takes several years after their best seasons to win the Stanley Cup.
Yzerman had to wait 10 years to win his first Stanley Cup. Stevie never scored as many goals as in 1988/89 season, but he became much better defensively and that helped the team to win the Stanley Cup.
Ovechkin was always decent defensively, maybe excluding his first season. So what Ovechkin has gained in exchange, in what aspects of the game is he better today? I think he is much better passer, and I mean better in terms of delivering the puck. His passes are softer, he has more saucer passes, in other words, the quality of his passes to his partners is better. That's very important because he will be shadowed mercilessly in the playoffs and if Ovi could draw two or more players on him and then deliver a saucer, that would be what the doctor ordered.
As of not scoring too much, I wouldn't worry about it. The most important thing is to peak for playoffs, not before. Like Sergei Gimaev said, "the title of top NHL scorer is important, but not so much anymore."