Thursday, March 30, 2006

Alex the Eight takes aim for 50

There was a good, five-year period there where it didn't look like we'd have a freshman score 50 goals for a long, long time.

Heck, even the vets have been having a hard time hitting that total. Some of the NHL's most prolific scorers the past few years, guys like Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund, have never had a 50 goal season.

And, while only two players — Milan Hejduk and Jarome Iginla — have met that magic mark in the past three seasons, four players are on pace this year to have 52-or-more goals: Jaromir Jagr, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jon Cheechoo and, yes, super rookie Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin's in hockey-mad Montreal as we speak (or is it 'as I write'), and one thing I really notice in this Canadian Press piece is how much better his English has gotten since the start of the season:

"I think about it, but when you go on the ice, you must try not to think about it," Ovechkin said into a forest of media microphones and notepads at the Bell Centre. "It's hard.

"When I was young I scored 50 once and right now I have a situation where I can score 50. But if you're thinking that you must score 50, you'll never score. You have to play the way you played before. Then you'll score."

As the article goes on to say, only three rookies have ever hit the 50-goal plateau, the last being Teemu Selanne, who had 76 goals in 1992-93.

The thing is, even with the increase in scoring this season, the NHL is nowhere near as high-flying as it was in the early 90s. If Ovechkin's goal totals were adjusted against the number of goals scored in a season, I have no doubt his numbers would matchup well with Selanne's unthinkable campaign.

UPDATE Mudcrutch does some of the number crunching.



At 9:12 a.m., March 31, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mudcrutch has done a really good analysis of Crosby's and Ovechkin's rookie season over at his site check it out.

He doesn't offer direct links to the posts however just scroll down about 2/3 of the way and you get two post title Ovechkin an Crosby.


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