Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 3/13/12

By his own standards, Alex Ovechkin has not played well over the last two years. In his first five NHL seasons, Ovechkin scored 46 or more goals and had over 100 points four times. Last season, he scored only 32 goals and had 85 total points. He is on a similar pace this season, having netted only 27 goals and tallying 24 assists in 65 games. The question is why? In an in-depth piece about Ovie’s struggles, the Washington Post speculates that his mother may have something to do with it.

When you ask those whom Ovechkin trusts most, the name most likely to come up first is Tatiana Ovechkin, his mother, a former athlete herself who lost another son at an early age. Ovechkin and his mother cling tightly to one another, and both the player’s parents shuttle back and forth from Russia to Washington. Ovechkin still spends much of his offseasons in Moscow. Those who know Ovechkin say his mother exerts considerable influence — good and bad — on her son’s life.

“That’s his biggest problem — his mom,” said a person familiar with the situation. “She did what she did for Alex. She played a huge part in his growth, in his career. But it went too far. I understand it’s family, I understand they’re very close — it’s not that. The question is: Is he ever going to grow up? I’m not only talking about hockey. She’s in his life in many other areas — relationships with girls, with friends, with everyone. It’s bizarre.”

Another source familiar with the Ovechkin family said their obsession with money has distanced him from his teammates in the locker room, claiming that no matter how much money Alex earns it’s “not enough” for the family. A number of theories have been tossed around as to why Ovechkin’s play has slid over the past couple seasons. Some say he has a poor relationship with the team while others speculate he once used performance-enhancing drugs and is no longer on them. Whatever the case may be, the “mommy won’t let me grow up” theory is by far the most unusual.

Thanks to Eye on Hockey for passing the story along

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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