Viral photo of Capitals' Alex Ovechkin sparks weight concerns

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 3: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals reacts against the Arizona Coyotes at Capital One Arena on March 3, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals secured a berth in the 2024 postseason that no one expected, but were quickly swept by the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.

Capitals captain and franchise legend Alex Ovechkin is enjoying his time off and having some fun before getting back to work later this summer ahead of next season.

However, Yegor Yakovlev shared a photo of Ovechkin on his Instagram on June 14 is causing some concern among Capitals fans as the franchise does not have him under control at the moment

#ALLCAPS Alexander Ovechkin (left + far right) #MMG Yegor Yakovlev plays pickleball with Vitali Fridzon and Anastasia Myskina.

“Met in padel duel, friendship won,” Yakovlev wrote in Russian in his post, which was captured by X-user @HockeyNewsHub. Ovechkin and Yakovlev played a padel match with Vitali Fridzon and Anastasia Myskina.

Wearing a sweat-soaked Capitals logo t-shirt, Ovechkin has a huge frame in the photo. Fans are used to Ovechkin's bulky body, but in this photo, Ovechkin looks a little bigger than usual.

Ovechkin, who turns 39 in September 2024, will play his 20th NHL season in 2024–25 while trying to become the league's all-time leading goalscorer.

Capitals Ovechkin makes comeback in one season

Ovechkin finished the 2024 season with 79 appearances, scoring 31 goals, 34 assists and 65 points, along with a plus-minus rating of minus-22, another step in a steady decline that spanned three years.

Ovi scored 90 points in the 2022 season, 75 in 2023 and 65 last year. The closest Ovechkin came to his recent numbers was in 2012, when he scored 65 points in 78 games.

The Russian striker had a difficult start to the season, scoring only 8 goals in the first 43 games of the 2024 regular season. However, after the All-Star break, Ovechkin's performance improved significantly.

Ovechkin scored 23 goals and 13 assists for 36 points in the final 36 games of the season, helping Washington overcome adversity and make the playoffs.

However, Ovi was unable to do anything in the playoffs and finished the postseason without scoring any points in four games.

Ovechkin chases Wayne Gretzky's goal record

While the offseason is a time for professional athletes to unwind and enjoy not thinking about sports for a few weeks, Ovechkin's case is special.

The Russian is chasing a record that hardly anyone would have thought possible when Wayne Gretzky ended his career. With 853 goals in 19 seasons, Ovechkin is “only” 41 goals away from reaching the GOAT goal record of 894. With 42 goals, Ovi would be the best player to ever grace an NHL ice.

“I always say the same thing: If I can do it, it's good, but it's still 42 goals,” Ovechkin said during the season-ending media presence on April 30, via “It's quite a long road, but it's possible if you stay healthy, yes.”

Ovechkin knows he needs to stay healthy and in top shape if he wants to break the scoring record. Ovi will be 41 when his contract expires in July 2026.

Gretzky scored 894 goals in 1,487 games for the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers. Ovechkin scored his 853 goals so far exclusively for the Capitals and appeared in 1,426 games.

Ovi is the only NHL player to score over 700 goals while playing for just one franchise. Steve Yzerman is second with 692 goals, scored solely for the Detroit Red Wings. Mario Lemieux is just behind in third place with 690 goals, all while wearing the Pittsburgh Penguins jersey.

Antonio Losada covers the NHL for Antonio is a veteran sportswriter from Spain and has covered the NBA, NFL and soccer for over 10 years, with contributions to SB Nation, FanSided, Yahoo Sports, FanGraphs, RotoBaller and more. He has also been nominated for several FSWA awards, including Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year. More about Antonio Losada