Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Roundup: The Other Super Soph

Can you believe how hot Sidney Crosby is? Sixteen points (5G, 11A) in his last six games, four of which his team has won. This hot streak has vaulted him into the League's lead in scoring, pushed the Pens up to 11th place in the jammed Eastern Conference playoff race, and bloggers and the MSM alike are now comfortable asking whether or not Sid is the NHL's best player. And he may be.

But there is, of course, another super soph in the NHL, and he's been every bit as hot as Crosby. In his last six games, Alex Ovechkin has 15 points (5G, 10A), helping the Caps to four wins during that span. In fact, Alex's Caps are the hottest team in the NHL, with 15 points in their last 10 games, leaving them in sixth place in the Conference. AO may "only" be third in the League in scoring, but he is leading the League in goals, second in the League in game-winning goals, second in even-strength goals, leads the League in road goals and has eight points (including five goals) to Crosby's five points (two goals) on game-winning goals.

I keep hearing the argument about how much better Sid makes everyone around him. While undoubtedly true, ask Dainius Zubrus, Chris Clark or Sasha Semin if the same can be said about AO (and if you think that Ovie's just a goal-scorer, you obviously didn't see the pass he made on Semin's second goal against the Flyers on Saturday night).

Am I saying that Ovechkin is a better player than Crosby? No. But if we're going to start considering players who haven't even taken their teams to the playoffs as among the League's best, I just wanted to make sure all the deserving candidates are in the running.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Sergei Brylin (2G, 2 SOG, 4 hits, 2 blocked shots)
  • Ross: Jamie Langenbrunner, Zach Parise (3 points each)
  • Norris: Kimmo Timonen (Game-winning OT goal, 6 SOG)
  • Vezina: Martin Brodeur (W, 35 saves on 36 shots against)
  • Richard: Sergei Brylin, Patrick Elias (2G each)
  • Calder: Travis Zajac (A+1, 2 hits)
  • Aiken: Kevin Weekes (L, 6 goals allowed on 28 shots against)

12 comments:

Tyler said...

AO is a better player than Crosby, he's just not Canadian. He hits and he plays better D. And he's nowhere near the whiner/diver Sid is.

dk said...

I'll take AO over Sid everyday of the week...no offense Caps fans but he doesn't have the talent around him sid does and produces on the same level...i'm still waiting to see sid but a team on his back and will them to win ala AO Friday night against Atlanta.

I didn't see the pass. Where's the link?

Anonymous said...

put..not but...sorry

JP said...

Ask and ye shall receive:

Zubie to AO to Semin

While I'm at it, check out Sasha's beautiful wrap-around goal.

Hopefully those work - I know that for some people they tend not to.

JP said...

Here's another link that may or may not work for you.

Tyler said...

The vids are also on NHL.com's scoreboard page for Saturday night.

Anonymous said...

1) Sorry, but AO is NOT 'better' than Crosby. That's silly. We're no big fans of Sidney, but what he has accomplished at his age is simply amazing
2) Giving the kid accolades does NOT take away from AO though. Ovechkin IS a super star in his own right. Its unfortunate both came into the league at the same time making comparisons inevitable.
3) However, after seeing this kid out play most last year barely 18, now outplaying everyone this year at barely 19, one wonders what he will/can accomplish when he 'grows up'.
4) Take off your Penguins hating glasses for a moment folks and realize this kid can be as good as 99, or scarily better

JP said...

Unintentional humor alert:

Someone saying that a claim that Ovechkin is better than Crosby is "silly," while later in the same post saying that Crosby can be better than Gretzky.

Thanks for the chuckle, Faux.

Anonymous said...

1) Umm, perhaps you were attempting humor by distorting our post, but in case that was not your intention we reinerate. Yes, it is SILLY to say that right now Ovechkin is BETTER than Crosby.
2) To say that both are of equal talent levels would be fine. Though at 2 years older AO has a bit of an advantage
3) As to Gretzky comparisons. Simply look at what 99 accomplished his first 2 years as compared to Crosby. At comparable ages, Sid's stats are comparable to Wayne's. (Gretzky was older than Crosby when he broke into the NHL)
4) Again, as difficult as it evidently is for you, take off your Penguin hating glasses and see what this kid is doing to his competition as a 19 year old!
5) We are NOT Penguin fans. Crosby is a whining/diving jerk, but that does NOT take away from his enormous talent!

JP said...

No one's taking away from Crosby's talents. It's just far more likely that AO is currently a more complete (hence "better") hockey player than Crosby than that Crosby may some day be the greatest hockey player of all time.

And I'm sick of this "what Crosby's doing at 18/19" crap. It's irrelevant. AO and Crosby have played almost the same number of games in the NHL and that's really all that matters. Both are getting better and both are likely far from reaching their prime years. Age is just a number (as I tell my 15-year-old girlfriend all the time).

Anonymous said...

1) Looks like we're almost in agreement then. Both are very talented players who are going to only get better. As to who is more complete,its difficult to say/is subjective. Crosby's +/- is far better, he kills penalties. Are you sure AO is a better all around player? How do you come to that concluysion?
2) However, age most certainly IS a factor in hockey. That's why there aren't 30-40 18 year olds in the league. It takes 99% of players several years to mature/be ready to play NHL hockey.
3) Its not AO's fault that he didn't get a chance to excel as early as Crosby. If he were 3 days older he would have been drafted in 2003, and played in the last pre-lockout year, as a 18 yr. old.
4) Due to that and the lockout AO had an additional 2 years to mature/develop (much like Semin did) into the player he is now. Would AO have scored 50 goals as a 18 yr. old? We will never know, but we DO know that 18 yr. old Crosby was the first 18 yr. old to score 100 points in many a season

JP said...

Age mattered last year. Sid was only 18 and had been playing against kids for years. AO was 20 and played the lockout year against men. That's, in part, why AO was better prepared and was the better player last year (hence the Calder Trophy).

This year it doesn't matter at all. They've both played well over 100 games in the top League in the world and are both youngsters on the rise. What happened 1.5+ years ago is irrelevant in the hockey development of these two now.

As for the assertion that AO may be the more complete player, +/- is a dubious stat, as my friend The Peerless expertly points out. AO's the better hitter, scores more in the clutch and doesn't have talent the likes of Malkin and Gonchar around him. If the Caps had a PP quarterback like Gonchar since the start of the season, AO would be leading the League in scoring, without question (and the Caps would likely have a worse record, since he blows goats defensively).

Again, I'm not saying AO is better, but it's not a "silly" argument to make.