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?