Entries with the tag: steven stamkos
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.
Much has been made about how Steven Stamkos didn’t get a point in his first seven games. His first assist was a secondary one in his eighth game in Toronto, though he potted two goals and an assist last night against Buffalo.
Four points, nine games. A lot of megastar NHL careers start slowly (see Thornton, Joe). As a comparison, here’s a gamelog of the first nine games from previous top forward draft picks from each draft class:
It wasn’t too long ago when those carefree kooks running the Tampa Bay Lightning were handing out big checks left and right to any mid-level free-agent forward they could find. Like a twisted episode of The Price Is Right, here was owner Oren Koules yelling, “Radim Vrbata, come on down! You’re the next recipient of a lot of money for not a lot production!”
And the majority of us in the hockey world thought that the Bolts would at least have a lightning-strong attack with absolutely zero defense. Well, one out of two ain’t bad. True, Tampa doesn’t have much defense (fortunately for Lightning fans, Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig have taken the Double Dare Physical Challenge with this team).
That dynamic offense, though? Well, a lightning bolt is a bit of an exaggeration. It’s more of a static-electricity zap, the kind that you get when you rub your shoes on thick carpet, then touch a metal door handle. It’s mildly annoying and surprising but in the end it disappears just as quickly as you noticed it.
Let’s break down the bang—erm, zap—for the buck, shall we?
While Tampa Bay celebrates having the Devil Rays actually do something meaningful, I’m much more interested in the beginning of the Steven Stamkos era. It’s 8:45 AM PST and I’m revved up for an actual regular season game. This post will be a liveblog of the first period between the Rangers and Lightning from Prague, Czech Republic (unfortunately, a family event will force me to Tivo the rest of the game) but rather than just comment on the game in general, I’m gonna answer the damn “Seen Stamkos?” question and put an emphasis on Stamkos and his shifts.
I’m not sure what Tampa Bay puppetmasters Oren Koules and Len Barrie are thinking with their pushing of young Steven Stamkos (and I’m pretty sure this was their decision) but I wonder if it’s really worth it to put so much pressure on young Stamkos’s shoulders. Didn’t they learn anything when “Crazy” Art Williams dubbed his #1 pick the “Michael Jordan of hockey”? Pressure and expectation can crush a young player, as well as distort their perspectives on professionalism and ego.