Entries with the tag: alexander ovechkin
In his first NHL game, John Tavares scored a goal and put up a secondary assist on a Mark Streit goal. For what it’s worth, those two points beat out the first games of Sidney Crosby (one assist), Patrick Kane (scoreless), and Evgeni Malkin (one goal). Of course, those guys turned out to be ok players (though not necessarily the best car passengers), and history has given us plenty of brilliant starts that tailed off into oblivion.
Then there’s the slow starters: Steven Stamkos took a half-season and a mullet-less coach to get going while Eric Staal and Joe Thornton had pretty unspectacular rookie years. Where will Tavares end up? Let’s look at how Crosby, Kane, Malkin, and Alex Ovechkin did in their first ten games.
Ok, so by now just about everyone’s seen Alex Ovechkin’s little showboating after he nabbed #50. Was it planned? Yep. Was it kinda stupid? I thought so, as planned celebrations go, but hey, whatever floats your boat. It’s not like there’s an Olympic judge scoring this thing.
Still, I get the sense that the pendulum seems to be shifting just a little bit in the Ovechkin vs. Crosby in the eyes of the general public. I think people are still on the Ovechkin bandwagon for the most part, but people seemed to have acknowledged the Marc Savard situation as points for Crosby and people are also starting to talk about how Ovechkin isn’t necessarily a complete or responsible player, along with being a little bit of a hot dogger. At least, for those that care about backchecking.
The funny thing is that this shift seemed to have started with Don Cherry’s somewhat xenophobic rant—something that just about everyone agreed was rather absurd. Still, that seemed to have planted the seeds of an Ovechkin backlash. This whole “flaming stick” thing, along with the fact that people are finally starting to talk about Ovechkin not being a complete player (at least not yet; he’s got years to avoid cementing a Pavel Bure level of one-dimensionality), shows that for the first time, people are starting to talk negative about Ovechkin.
Which leads back to the whole flaming stick thing. Was it Terrell Owens level of me-first showboating or was it just a goofy one-off thing to celebrate a milestone? Check out AO’s stuff on this post, then watch TO below:
What’s it like to be Sidney Crosby? Here’s a guy who, at 18 years old, already had most of the hockey world hating him—and he hadn’t done anything yet. Of course, that probably was the problem, as the NHL deemed him The Next One prior to him playing a single NHL game.
We all know what happened after that. He had a great rookie season only to be overshadowed by Alexander Ovechkin, then went on to win the Hart Trophy as league MVP in his second season. By then, people had finally stopped blindly bashing Crosby and recognized how good he really was. In his third season, an injury took Crosby out of any awards but he was the strongest Penguin on a team that charged to within two wins of the Stanley Cup.
This year? He’s had an embarrassing fight, some nagging injuries, and the Crosby backlash seems to be in full force from pretty much everywhere (except for, shockingly, Don Cherry). In most hockey circles, discussion of the Penguins’ fortunes seems to focus more on Evgeni Malkin, and whenever Crosby is actually brought up, it’s often accompanied by the phrase “He’s not even the best player on the team.”
In the whole “Who’s the best player in the NHL?” argument, there are talks of Malkin’s scoring-race lead or Alexander Ovechkin’s supercharged goalscoring and enthusiasm. Crosby, however, seems to have slipped by the wayside in everything except NHL marketing pieces.
The strange thing is that facts dispute any naysayer dismissal of Crosby as one of the NHL’s best, if not the best. His points-per-game since he entered the league is better than Malkin or Ovechkin (though not by far); for this season, his points-per-game following Sunday’s three-assist performance over the Boston Bruins is neck-and-neck with Malkin—and both Penguins are just a hair above Ovechkin.
Stick a microphone in front of them and this pattern continues. When introduced at a recent community function, the ever-exuberant Ovechkin announced himself by saying, “Heeeeeeeeeey, I score goals!” In contrast, Crosby has been known to break down his thought process for reporters, such as the time he explained how he once scored a on-one-knee sliding tap-in goal because he recognized that his teammate’s pass was going long and he’d have better reach if he simply kneeled down and lunged his stick out.
Who is this mystery writer and why is he so smart and good-looking?
We’re down to the penultimate pick in our review of the 1998-99 best players as listed in a decade-old The Hockey News Yearbook. Tomorrow, I’ll post #1, and then for Thursday’s opening-night post, I’ll have a complete list sans commentary of the 1998-99 Top 50 compared to the 2008-09 list. There’s definitely some eyebrow raisers in there. Of course, who knows how we’ll judge the 2008-09 list ten years from now.
Today, though, let’s look at a player that was one of the most dominant of the 1990s: Paul Kariya.