Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ovechkin takes run at scoring lead

With two more points tonight against Toronto, Alex Ovechkin is only one back of Vinny Lecavalier for the overall scoring lead — and a couple of injuries have thinned the race recently.

Sidney Crosby's out of the running, sidelined for six to eight weeks, and Henrik Zetterberg's back woes have hindered him as well. Lecavalier has just three points in his last eight games, while Ovechkin's been the league's most prolific scorer over the last month.

Also in the Art Ross hunt are Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalchuk and Daniel Alfredsson (ed note: Alfie's now in the lead, one point up on Lecavalier, after a seven-point night against Tampa).

What's more for Washington in the trophy chase, however, is the fact that rookie Nicklas Backstrom is making a serious run in the Calder Trophy race, and coach Bruce Boudreau's 17-8-4 start as an NHL head coach may put him in the running for the Jack Adams by season's end.

With 32 games to go, the Capitals are now on pace to win the Southeast.

Washington will finish with 93 points if they can keep up this post-Hanlon pace.

UPDATE As noted above, Alfredsson's big night changed things around a bit, and Ovechkin's actually two back of the Senators captain for the overall scoring lead.

How long has it been since we've had a seven-point game?

UPDATE "From the Elias Sports Bureau: Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson set a career high and an Ottawa franchise record with seven points (three goals, four assists) in the Senators' 8-4 win at Tampa Bay. It was the most points in one game by an NHL player since Jan. 11, 2003, when Jaromir Jagr scored seven points (three goals, four assists) for the Washington Capitals in a 12-2 win over Florida, and the most points by one player in a road game since Feb. 26, 1997, when Eric Lindros had one goal and six assists for the Philadelphia Flyers at Ottawa.

"Besides Alfredsson, the only active players to have scored seven points in an NHL game are Jagr (1999 with Pittsburgh and 2003 with Washington) and Mats Sundin (1992 with Quebec)."

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32 Comments:

At 10:12 PM, January 24, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Good stuff. Love this Caps run, especially since former Blade Mike Green (who was criminally underrated as a prospect and robbed of a spot on the best ever U-20 WJHC team) is playing a HUGE role and actually getting hyped for once. That kid was dominating in junior, the best Saskatoon Blade in over a decade.

Also of note tonight, the Habs beat the Devils in New Jersey for only the second time post-lockout. And by post-lockout, I mean post-1994 lockout. lol

And the Oil just tied up against the Panthers thanks to two goals by Jarret Stoll with the goalie pulled. Don't see that too often.

 
At 10:16 PM, January 24, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Couldn't agree more. Green was terrific as a 16- and 17-year-old back when I was still out West, and then dominated the AHL.

It's interesting to see him bloom under Boudreau, who he won a Calder Cup with.

 
At 10:55 PM, January 24, 2008, Blogger Osgoode Richmond Minor Atom Senators said...

Lost in your story or perhaps ignored is the remarkable season Daniel Alfredson is having. Leading the league at the allstar break. This should raise his stock for the MVP vote.

 
At 2:44 AM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand the lack of prime-time space and name-recognition but COME ON.

ALFIE FOR MVP deserves a mention, even if the rest of the country hates the Sens.

I like our plucky little bunch of pluggers, Heater, Spezz, Fish...


Canada's team.

 
At 7:24 AM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did a post about the Washington Capitals morph into an Alfie-for-MVP campaign?

 
At 8:21 AM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

James, I'm pretty sure the safe thing is to mention Alfie for MVP in every post you write. This clearly is an outrage.

 
At 9:33 AM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

I've only been reading this blog for a couple of months, but so far here is the list of teams that Mirtle evidently disdains:
Ottawa, Edmonton, Columbus, the entire Southleast Division, Boston (Thomas for Vezina!) and the Islanders (free Simon!). As well, he's an active part of the TSN conspiracy to destroy the Flyers.

Any other teams out their with prickly fans?

 
At 9:45 AM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget he also hates the Canucks and displays the typical anti-West bias of someone from Toronto, all despite being from B.C.

 
At 10:29 AM, January 25, 2008, Blogger sager said...

OK, how many people could have anticipated Alfie putting up seven points last night (and remember, the Sens game was only a regional telecast)?

The 7th point, btw, was definitely a hometown call (not that it doesn't happen across the league). Alfie initially wasn't given an assist for having the puck bounce near him on a Spezza goal, then was given one after a post-game review.

You can criticize a guy if you don't like his arguments, but be fair to James.

 
At 10:35 AM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Numbers Guy said...

How did a post about Ovechkin taking a run at the scoring lead turn into a post about Alfie meriting MVP consideration?

Here's how: it is absurd to run a post about Ovechkin taking a run at the scoring lead on the same night that Alfredsson overtakes Ovechkin - and several others - to actually take the scoring lead.

The thrust of the post is fine - Ovechkin is having a heckuva year, and he is challenging for the Art Ross and maybe the Hart - but the timing sucked.

Love or hate Alfie and the Sens, he is having an incredible year at a time in his career when most players' production falls off.

 
At 11:09 AM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anshu said...

The 7th point, btw, was definitely a hometown call (not that it doesn't happen across the league).

There have been some stupid comments posted on this site, but Sager's has to be in the top ten.

If his stick touches the puck as he deflects the shot, are you arguing it shouldn't count as an assist?

If so, you need to lobby the NHL to change how they define assist, not with the officials who apply the current rules.

And how could it be a hometown call? The game was in Tampa, not Ottawa (or Sweden).

And I do agree that the headline for the post was about as poorly timed as possible.

 
At 12:10 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Here's how: it is absurd to run a post about Ovechkin taking a run at the scoring lead on the same night that Alfredsson overtakes Ovechkin - and several others - to actually take the scoring lead.

Good lord... guys, this post was in the bag before the Sens game was even over. I had no idea that Alfredsson had put up that kind of pointage and had just watched Ovechkin play two great games against Toronto.

End of story.

 
At 12:34 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Don said...

James hates us here in Ottawa because of our freedom.

 
At 12:35 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous M said...

Rather than deleting posts, which sets your reputation back to somwhere around that of Richard Peddie, but without the money, how about a post saying 'gee whillikers, that Alfie sure looks like he is having one hell of a season'.

Just a thought.

 
At 12:49 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Don said...

Too harsh M.

You have to remember that James is under tremendous pressure from the Toronto based media establishment to keep us down.

He's not one of them - being from BC - but he can only withstand so much.

ALFIE!!!!

 
At 1:02 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Daniel Alfredsson is a GOLDEN GOD!!

Leading the league in scoring, he's been carrying this team on his back ever since last January (including the playoffs)! He has continued to put up big points at big moments of games even when his team has struggled. It is 100% due to this man that Ottawa still sits atop the standings. Take a look at the games where he was out. This team was LOST. He is the heart and soul of all the is the Ottawa Senators.

Alfredsson does it all!!
ALFIE ALFIE M.V.P.!
"There's no question."

 
At 1:16 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James must be part of Gary Bettman's plan to screw Canada.
Damn you! Bettman!

 
At 1:20 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous karina said...

Look, count me among those who are amazed at Alfredsson's continued fine play, and one who believes he deserved the Conn Smythe last year over Neidermeyer.

But the case for him as MVP doesn't seem so cut and dry to me... I think he gets a lot of credit for producing so well on his own, but how great is Heatley? Alfie's probably a big reason why the team's held it together amongst the goalie controversy and coaching change, and I for one don't question his leadership skills anymore.

But take it a little easier, would ya? Just because the morning after he has a big game someone makes a post about Ovechkin instead doesn't mean he doesn't respect Alfie. It just means he probably watched the Washington game, not the Ottawa one. It's not a deliberate affront to Alfredsson or Sens fans.

Yeesh. And people mock Leafs fans!

 
At 1:31 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

Rather than deleting posts, which sets your reputation back to somwhere around that of Richard Peddie, but without the money, how about a post saying 'gee whillikers, that Alfie sure looks like he is having one hell of a season'.

If they were deleted they were probably ridiculously stupid and offensive.

Good lord... guys, this post was in the bag before the Sens game was even over. I had no idea that Alfredsson had put up that kind of pointage and had just watched Ovechkin play two great games against Toronto.

End of story.


Poor insecure Ottawa fans. No one cares about your franchise. And Alfie for MVP? Pretty easy to look good with Spezza and Heatley flanking you most of the time. Imagine what a real star like Mats could do with those two.

Not to mention that no coward that shots a puck at Scotty "Christ" Niedermayer and then hides behind Chicken Chicklets Neil deserves an MVP vote.

 
At 1:31 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

Rather than deleting posts, which sets your reputation back to somwhere around that of Richard Peddie, but without the money, how about a post saying 'gee whillikers, that Alfie sure looks like he is having one hell of a season'.

If they were deleted they were probably ridiculously stupid and offensive.

Good lord... guys, this post was in the bag before the Sens game was even over. I had no idea that Alfredsson had put up that kind of pointage and had just watched Ovechkin play two great games against Toronto.

End of story.


Poor insecure Ottawa fans. No one cares about your franchise. And Alfie for MVP? Pretty easy to look good with Spezza and Heatley flanking you most of the time. Imagine what a real star like Mats could do with those two.

Not to mention that no coward that shots a puck at Scotty "Christ" Niedermayer and then hides behind Chicken Chicklets Neil deserves an MVP vote.

 
At 1:32 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger PPP said...

Stupid double post!

 
At 1:59 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anshu said...

Stupid double post!

Typical Leaf fan :-)

As to the point that the post was already complete before the results of the Ottawa game were known, I would point out that most blogging software allows edits. Might be worth looking into. You know, so that a headline that makes no sense can be changed.

If you want, you can also use a little asterisk with a footnote indicating that the headline was changed after posting, in light of it being out of sync with the reality of the previous evenings results.

Major print media do this all the time, particularly with the online versions of their stories. Otherwise it makes them look out of date, biased, or irrelevant.

 
At 2:06 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous ken said...

Actually, a number of media outlets, rather than alter posts, will place updates or corrections at the bottom.

As for "Alfie for MVP," well, maybe he will win. But let's not forget in the first few weeks of the season, when some started calling the Sens the "greatest team ever" and seriously comparing them to the 1976 Montreal Canadiens. I mean, really.

As for Ovechkin -- the initial subject of the initial post :-) -- I agree with James. He is awesome.

 
At 2:26 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

As to the point that the post was already complete before the results of the Ottawa game were known, I would point out that most blogging software allows edits. Might be worth looking into. You know, so that a headline that makes no sense can be changed.

I believe TSN can take care of that one for you — I wasn't around after this was posted. (Heck, the playoff push isn't even updated yet.)

 
At 2:27 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Squeegie couldn't clean the Great Golden God's jockstrap. Leafs Suck. Commence the fire sale already, and once a few of those picks transpire, you can come back and play with the big boys, ok?

 
At 2:33 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anshu said...

I believe TSN can take care of that one for you — I wasn't around after this was posted. (Heck, the playoff push isn't even updated yet.)

I don't understand. What does your blog have to do with TSN?

I also don't understand what you mean by "I wasn't around after this was posted". Aren't you around now?

 
At 2:39 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I don't change the headlines on posts 14 hours later. Besides, Ovechkin is taking a run at the scoring lead, and has been by far the most productive player over the past month. (14 goals in 14 games, I believe.)

The headline's not absurd. And there are plenty of places with coverage of Alfredsson's big night.

Anyone looking for all-encompassing coverage from one guy's blog is going to be disappointed.

 
At 3:15 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anshu said...

The headline's not absurd.

I never claimed it was. Poorly worded given the timing, absolutely. If you had written "Ovechkin among hottest players in the NHL" or something to that effect, I suspect there would have been about 3 comments, largely in agreement.

 
At 3:42 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Hossim said...

You're being held to a high standard as the up-to date source for hockey commentary James, it's a compliment.

But about the so called poor timing of the headline, perhaps if your perception of hockey changes every night it is poor timing but otherwise...

Last 2 weeks (including last night)
Ovechkin 7G, 6A, 13 pts
Alfredsson 6G, 5A, 11 pts

In fact, after both Washington and Ottawa had played 45 games this season, Alfredsson had a 5 point lead on Ovechkin in points (60-55). It is now a two point lead.

 
At 4:34 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous ken said...

I suspect, James, the solution is for you to see into the future. Like everyone else apparently can.

 
At 6:05 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger sager said...

OK, fine, it wasn't a hometown call, but you can't believe that someone on the Sens didn't go and lobby for an assist for Alfie on the play. And it probably didn't lead directly to a goal.

Bottom line, as said before, it would have been remarkably prescient to anticipate the first 7-point game in 5 years. James made an editorial decision to focus on Ovechkin. Don't like it? Start the "Alfie for PM" blog.

 
At 6:57 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anshu, your comments are absurd. James was probably sleeping by the time the scoring race changed. He's not about to rewrite the article just because Alfredsson had a hot night.

He has too much class and diplomacy to say it, so I will: take off, eh.

 

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