There were lots of sunspots at solar max in 2001 (left). During the following solar min, however, sunspots were extremely rare for several years. This period was the "deepest" and most prolonged solar min in about a century. The image on the right from June 2009 shows a Sun devoid of sunspots, which was commonplace from 2007 to 2009.
Images courtesy of SOHO/NASA/ESA.