Thursday, January 19, 2006

The exploits of Ovechkin

As I sat here tonight watching part of the St. Louis-Washington game — a hockey wasteland, to be sure, if not for the participation of Alex Ovechkin — I had a brainwave (as they're few and far between, it's best to chronicle them).

Let's say the 2004-05 NHL season hadn't been wiped out, and there was hockey played. What if, then, that was A.O.'s rookie season with the Capitals? Would he still be scoring his 33rd goal in his 45th game (as he did tonight)? Is a 19-year-old Ovechkin as dominant?

Of course, in previous seasons when a player of his talent was about to hit the NHL, he'd generally be heading to a struggling team, one that would require his services at 18 or 19 years old (i.e. Rick Nash in Columbus). Rarely, if ever, will a player as talented as Ovechkin play his rookie NHL season as a 20 year old. In fact, we may not see this again.

Not that I'm trying to take anything away from the exploits of Ovechkin. It's just that some are giving Sid Crosby a hard time for falling back of Ovechkin's pursuits lately — the Calder Trophy race is becoming less closely contested with every game — but Sasha is almost a full two years older than Crosby.

Surely that's a factor. But how much so?

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At 3:20 a.m., January 20, 2006, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Ok, I am nit picking here but Ovechkin is not a *full* two years older than Crosby. Ovechkin was born on September 17, 1985 and Crosby was born on August 7, 1987. That is a month and 10 days less than a *full* 2 years. The difference between the two is not so much the age but that Ovechkin has experience playing with grown men where Crosby does not. Ovechkin is clearly the better and more mature player because of that experience.

At 3:33 a.m., January 20, 2006, Anonymous Will Barty said...

WOwza. I hope that guy is kidding. You don't think James knows when their bdays are?

And hmm I wonder if being older has anything to do with having more experience. connect the dots = not this guys strong point

At 10:07 a.m., January 20, 2006, Blogger jmol2112 said...

I guess what wasn't also mentioned was the fact that Crosby has a much better supporting cast around him. Though the Pens aren't winning, having a Palffy(till recently)Gonchar, Lemieux(at times), etc doesn't hurt. Meanwhile Ovechkin is alone on a team of 3rd/4th line/AHL-ers.

At 11:23 a.m., January 20, 2006, Anonymous David Johnson said...


Either James doesn't know when their birthdays are or he doesn't know that a :full two years" is 24 months, not 22 and 2/3.

And no, it isn't just experience I was trying to point out, it is experience against men. IF Ovechkin's experience was in the OHL against other 18, 19 and 20 year olds it wouldn't be the same. If you remember, the Russian league had some pretty good NHLers in it last year.

So Will, do you have anything useful to contribute to the conversation or do you just like to jump in when you think you can do some mindless bashing?

At 2:16 p.m., January 20, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

DJ, my editor-in-chief added a word to the post. Blog entries obviously aren't given the same attention to detail as most of what I write.

I guess the main part of my musing is asking if Ovechkin would have been this good had he played in the NHL last season. It's interesting to think that his amazing breakout is due, at least in some small part, to the fact there was a lockout. Of course, the same can be said for guys like Eric Staal as well.

At 5:24 p.m., January 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Will, do you have anything useful to contribute to the conversation or do you just like to jump in when you think you can do some mindless bashing?

Wow. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. If your first comment had started with "The difference between..." your follow-up comment above wouldn't be so incredibly hypocritical.

Honestly, people.



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