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If Alex Ovechkin had as much star support as Sidney Crosby the Big 8 would leave The Kid in the dust.

-Stan Fischler of the Fischler Report where you can read more short topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sidney+crosby

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Is it only me, or is Stan Fischler a giant D-Bag?

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 02/07/14 at 12:55 PM ET

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Is it only me, or is Stan Fischler a giant D-Bag?

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 02/07/14 at 12:55 PM ET

I Agree with Mr. Fischler.

Posted by guy on 02/07/14 at 01:04 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

What does that even mean, leave him in the dust? Hockey is a team sport. The Caps have had plenty of talent over the years, it just so happened to be mostly offensive talent and no consistent defensive ability. Both guys have had talented players to pass the puck to and take passes from, and both have scored a lot.

I know +/- is pretty rudimentary, but it is pretty hard to combine the +/- troubles of Ovechkin with what the eyeball test shows you and not conclude Crosby is the better all-around player.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/07/14 at 01:11 PM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

What a joke. Ovi is a great player, but he’s one-dimensional. Sid has all-around skill. Is Backstrom not considered a star? Mike Green was a star at one point or another.

The two players are so vastly different, there’s really no reason to compare them.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Chicago, IL on 02/07/14 at 01:34 PM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

This debate has been dead for a while… like Fischler’s relevance. Both great players, Sid has proven he can do more than score a lot of goals, OV has not.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 02/07/14 at 01:35 PM ET

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They are not comparable players. They don’t play the same game.

Posted by brians neck on 02/07/14 at 02:15 PM ET

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Fischler is nuts.

Supporting cast? Chris Kunitz was a 50-60 point forward for basically his entire career before turning into a 80-90 point player and Canadian Olympian. At age 33. Wonder if it had something to do with the guy feeding him pucks.

Crosby’s points per game is about 1.4 over his career and 1.5 over the last 4 seasons. Ovechkin’s is 1.2 over his career and 1.0 over the last 4 seasons. That’s an average of about 15 points per 82 games better over their entire careers and 40 points (40 points!) per 82 since 2010-11. And Crosby doesn’t even have the benefit of having a powerplay constructed and run specifically to feed him as many undefended long-pass one-timers as possible in the slot with the goalie moving left to right.

Even if Fischler was right about Crosby’s supporting cast being significantly better than Ovechkin’s (it isn’t, at least not in terms of the kinds of players regularly on the ice with each player), the statistical gap between them is so huge that, even if Crosby was the only good player on a team entirely filled with third-liners, he probably would STILL wind up with as many or more points as Ovechkin. Oh, and Crosby also plays defense.

I’m not trying to put down Ovechkin. He’s an elite player, arguably the best pure goal scorer in the league. But Crosby is light years ahead of everyone right now.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 02/07/14 at 02:16 PM ET

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guessing Stan is desperate for site hits

Posted by puckeye on 02/07/14 at 02:36 PM ET

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Chris Kunitz was a 50-60 point forward for basically his entire career before turning into a 80-90 point player and Canadian Olympian.

A) That’s West to East.  B) He went from 16.5 minutes a night to 18-19 minutes a night.  C) Malkin, Crosby and the Pittsburgh blue line are significantly better offensively than Anaheim’s comparables.  D) Kunitz was essentially a 60 point player his first four years in Pitt, too… since he averaged 59.5 points per 82 games from ‘09-‘12

Crosby’s points per game is about 1.4 over his career and 1.5 over the last 4 seasons. Ovechkin’s is 1.2 over his career and 1.0 over the last 4 seasons.

Goals > assists statistically, by the definition of multiple possible assists being awarded for every single goal… so using points as the straight line comparison between the two mitigates Ovechkin’s goalscoring advantage while simultaneously baking in the advantage Crosby has had by playing with better offensive players.

That aside, I think Fischler’s ‘leave in the dust’ bit is pointless hyperbole, but I do think that by the nature of his superior raw goalscoring ability Ovechkin would have been a superior league talent in the manner Fischler is referring to to Crosby given equivalent talent levels to work with, and certainly had their rosters been swapped for each other.

Not by a lot, but by some.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/07/14 at 03:34 PM ET

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Stan Fischler is the Maury Chass of the NHL.

Posted by RoneFace on 02/07/14 at 04:00 PM ET

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Some decent points, but I think the supposedly mitigating factors you’re selling are overblown.

Kunitz didn’t see his points spike just by virtue of being on the Penguins, he saw his points spike as he spent more time actually on Sid’s line. Between the 07-08 season and the present, Kunitz’ scoring rate per 60 minutes is 50% higher with Crosby on the ice than without, which is pretty typical for guys who’ve been blessed to play significant minutes with Sid:

http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2014/1/7/5284426/sidney-crosby-stats-chris-kunitz-penguins-winter-olympics

You’ll get no argument from me that the Penguins without Crosby are a better team than the Capitals without Ovechkin, and Crosby probably plays with stronger linemates on average (though he hardly ever plays with Malkin at even strength, and Backstrom is pretty damn good), too.

But is the difference so extreme that they could explain a 40 points per 82 games difference over the last four seasons, even including the fact that Ovechkin scores more goals?

I doubt it. My guess is that if you had them switch teams it might cost Crosby 5-10 points per season and Ovechkin would maybe end up the same or a little better—probably a little better at even strength (since Malkin would presumably be his center) and a little less on the powerplay (since, with Malkin around, they wouldn’t need to run the powerplay exclusively based on setting up Ovechkin one-timers).

And that is still disregarding the fact that Crosby plays defense and Ovechkin does not.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 02/07/14 at 04:10 PM ET

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Just to reiterate that point about Kunitz:

Using his actual scoring rates with and without Crosby during his Penguins career, we can calculate his expected even strength point output based on a given ice time with or without Crosby on the ice.

Let’s say in season 1 Kunitz plays 82 games, 17 even strength minutes per night, all without Crosby. In season 2, the same is true except he’s always playing with Crosby. What would we expect his even strength performance to look like?

Without Crosby: 20 goals, 23 assists, 43 points
With Crosby: 26 goals, 39 assists, 65 points

And that’s just even-strength scoring. The gap is widened when you consider the effects of playing with or without Crosby on the powerplay as well.

And this sort of discrepancy isn’t just true about Kunitz. It’s true for pretty much every forward who plays with Crosby, up to and including Malkin.

And when you consider that often when these players are /not/ playing with Crosby, they’re playing with Malkin instead, and yet they STILL do 50% better with Crosby as their center ...

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 02/07/14 at 04:38 PM ET

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Fischler once said Peter Prucha would be better than Sidney Crosby.

Posted by larry on 02/07/14 at 09:00 PM ET

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