Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Miscellany

INCH profiles Caps' prospect Phil DeSimone a couple of weeks ago (really well-written, too).... Karl Alzner: oenophile, philanthropist.... In bizarro world, Martin Brodeur wears this and Alex Ovechkin bitches about it.... Some blogger at MVN arbitrarily ranks the Caps' as the League's 20th-best fan base. Agree/disagree?... Kevin Allen has pre-pre-season power rankings up and has the Caps at eighth (nice number) and drops an "Ovechkin as Gordie Howe" comparison.... It looks like Hershey enforcer Louis Robitaille is off to Italy to continue his career (which, I suppose, would make him former Hershey enforcer Louis Robitaille). Robitaille played his only two NHL games for the Caps back in the 2005-06 season, registering no points and one fight and had 350 PIMs for the Bears last season.... Thanks to Jimmy Jazz for the ├╝ber kind words.... Finally, THN's list of its Top Fifty Players is out, and ripe for discussion:
  1. Sidney Crosby
  2. Alex Ovechkin
  3. Henrik Zetterburg
  4. Pavel Datsyuk
  5. Vincent Lecavalier
  6. Nicklas Lidstrom
  7. Roberto Luongo
  8. Jarome Iginla
  9. Evgeni Malkin
  10. Dany Heatley
  11. Chris Pronger
  12. Daniel Alfredsson
  13. Marian Gaborik
  14. Henrik Lundqvist
  15. Brendan Morrow
  16. Evgeni Nabokov
  17. Marian Hossa
  18. Ilya Kovalchuk
  19. Eric Staal
  20. Zdeno Chara
  21. Joe Thornton
  22. Dion Phaneuf
  23. Martin Brodeur
  24. J.-S. Giguere
  25. Martin St. Louis
  26. Scott Niedermayer
  27. Brian Rafalski
  28. Sergei Gonchar
  29. Marty Turco
  30. Ryan Getzlaf
  31. Andrei Markov
  32. Zach Parise
  33. Ales Hemsky
  34. Jason Spezza
  35. Vesa Toskala
  36. Rick Nash
  37. Joe Sakic
  38. Scott Gomez
  39. Ryan Miller
  40. Jonathan Toews
  41. Daniel Sedin
  42. Daniel Briere
  43. Anze Kopitar
  44. Miikka Kiprusoff
  45. Paul Statsny
  46. Shane Doan
  47. Derek Roy
  48. Marc Savard
  49. Mike Richards
  50. Patrick Kane
Do Mike Green or Nick Backstrom deserve to be on the list? Who's too high/low?


tim :) said...

20th for the caps fans? Hah!

Well, check that list in one year, it'll be top 10 if not top 5

Tyler said...

If you polled the GMs and asked them if they'd rather have Whiny Diver or AO, I's guess that over half of them would pick AO.

~Mark said...

There must be a real sense of fear, that they can't let go of their Crosby as the next Gretzky mind-set. Come on. Ovie won all four of the top awards this year, and had a higher points per game average than Sid. Although the Pens went to the finals, Crosby was hardly a one-man show. I just think this is as simple as Canadian bias.

And no Greener or Backstrom on the list? Seriously? Seriously.
It's just another example of the Caps and their players getting the snub. Looks like some good bulletin board material.

JP said...

If you want Greener and Backstrom in, who's out?


1) We did our own ranking last week and a 20th placement for the Caps is fair based upon ALL of last season, but agree with some other posters here that the team will almost assuredly have a significant spike in attendance this next season.
2) THN's list in our opinion lost its credibility as soon as we saw Maple leafs goalie Vesa Toskala at 35? Placing him as the 4th best goalie in the NHL???

DMG said...

I personally think Ovechkin is better than Crosby because he's a more physical player but you can pretty much make a case for either guy and any Gm would probably love to have either of them, and while Ovechkin had more points per game last year it was incredibly close: 1.366 to 1.358. Literally if Ovechkin has one fewer or Crosby one more, Crosby comes out ahead.

As for Green or Backstrom, I'm not sure I'd put either of them on the list. I get the feeling it's based on more than just last season and to say a guy is in the top 50 after one season is hard (especially when the Calder winner is ranked 50th). Some kind of thing applies to Green, IMO.

Personally I think Ilya Kovalchuk should be higher than 18th, ahead of at least Alfredsson and Morrow.

Ben said...

I buy Green and Backstrom being left out. They're young and fairly unproven. Plus 50 players means a team with two is doing well, and three would be fairly unheard of.

20th seems about right, too. Let's see how much red is being rocked and such in the dog days of November and December in 2008 before we rush to judgment based on support during a huge win streak.

JP said...

Agreed with Ben on both points.

I don't think Green is better than any of the D's listed (though he should pass at least Rafalski this year) and I'm not sure Nick is better than any of the Fs yet (though he's better-rounded than Kane right now).

And 20th may be a little low, but not much - the fanbase (the fringe/casual fans - not us diehards) still has a lot to prove.

MrsBackstromWannabe said...

Green, Backstrom in, BRIERE, RICHARDS OUT
Nothing else to say.
Ecxept that Sidney Crosby is good and all, but not Ovechkin good. Those two should have been switched.

Anonymous said...

I'd take Backstrom over Hemsky, the Sedin of the Day, and even Sakic at this point.

And regarding Green: The list is very, very forward-heavy...


JR said...

If you are not taking potential into account how the hell are Toews/Kane on this list? Actually everything past 39 is bunk.

Stuff like this irritates me, probably moreso than it should. Raise your hand if you would pefer to have the likes of Briere, Derek Roy, Shane Doan, Paul Stastny, etc. on your team THIS year rather than Green or Backstrom.

DMG said...

Briere has never really impressed me that much, but Richards should be in the top 50.

I think Doan, Roy and Statsny were all better than Backstrom this year. They all had more points and more goals and are more physical players. There's a good chance Backstrom will pass at least one of those guys as early as this year, but at this point I'd say any of those guys are better. As for Green, I think he has a lot of talent but he's average in his own end. A for Kane and Toews, they both showed enough this year that they don't need to be given a boost based on potential.

bil said...

Green got more Norris votes this year than Rafalski or Pronger.


Just sayin'.

I think because of his performance and age, he should have nipped the top 50.

Getzlaf is too low. Morrow is too high. That is all.

Ogre said...

I'd rather have Theodore over Toskala. I think as far as goalies go, they were just using that Icethetic blog's mask ratings.

JR said...

Doan = bust. 7th overall to become a 25 goal/60 point guy?

Derek Roy is 5'8/188. Advantage Push.

Stastny - 9 playoff games, 2-1-3.

How you can not put Backstrom on par with Kane is beyond me.

As far as Green goes, I think leaving him off is proper at this point. Ironic considering the $21 mil he just banked.

JR said...

Upon further reflection, 'bust' might be a little harsh for Mr. Doan - but my point is you envision more - a lot more - for someone you take 7th overall.

DMG said...

@ jr:
Two things re Doan. One is that the Jets did pretty well for themselves with the selection of Doan. Eyeballing the 1995 draft quickly I can see two guys picked after Doan who are better NHLers: Jarome Iginla and J.S. Giguire. Plus I'd put Doan ahead of the six guys taken before him except maybe Wade Redden career-wise, and I'd put Doan ahead of Redden right now. The draft isn't about getting a certain type of player at a certain spot, it's about getting the best available player. Drafts vary widely in terms of overall quality (for example, the 10th best player to come out of the 2005 draft probably is/will be better than the 5th best player from the 1999 draft), so it's not realistic to assign a value to a player based on their draft position alone. Also, for reference, the players taken 7th overall in the next five drafts were Erik Rasmusson, Paul Mara, Kris Beech, Lars Jonsson and Manny Malholta; the players taken 7th overall in the five previous drafts were Jamie Storr, Jason Arnott, Alek Stojanov, Darryl Sydor and Ryan Sittler. If anything it seems projecting 25 goals and 60 points (which Doan has generally exceed over the last few years) seems to be expecting too much.

Second, draft position isn't really all that relevant to this discussion, it's a list of best players not best players discounted for their draft position (if it were than, I think Datsyuk and Zetterberg would have 1/2 locked up).

I can see Kane ahead of Backstrom because he scored 50% more goals last season and had more total points, despite not playing with Ovechkin. As good as Backstrom is, a lot of his points came because he played with Ovechkin.

Statsny has had more goals and more points in each of his first two NHL seasons than Backstrom did last year and, like Kane, didn't have the same kind of help in the offensive end. He also played in a fairly defensive system, as opposed to Boudreau's wide-open game. He may not have done all that much in the playoffs but to me that doesn't let Backstrom, who he significantly outplayed in the regular season, leap over him.

I'll concede Roy may not be all that much more physical than Backstrom but he did have more hits and more blocked shots last season.

I agree with you. I can't fathom how Toskala would be in the top 15 goaltenders, let alone be ranked 4th.

JR said...

If you want to go by the stats:

Shane Doan career playoffs (all first round):

32 games, 6 goals, 6 assists.

Okay, a lot of those games were when he wasn't a major contributer to the team. Unfortunately he hasn't had a chance to atone because he can't seem to get his team higher than 9th.

You are really putting too much reliance on cliche arguments, like the 'Avs Defensive system'. They scored 231 goals last year, the Capitals scored 242. The Avs were t-5 in the West in GF, the Caps were 7th in the East.

If you want to talk about systems, look at Backstrom's numbers under the venerable Glen Hanlon, which also happen to be his first 20 or so games of his career.

DMG said...

Doan's one guy on a 23 man roster. The fact that he hasn't seen much playoff time doesn't say anything more about his ability than it does about Ovechkin that he missed the playoffs his first two years.

As for the system argument, it's not as if the whole point hinges on it: Statsny still had more points and more goals and the Avs scored fewer goals (238 to 224) and took fewer shots (31 to 28.6).

As for Backstrom, under Hanlon (21 games) he had one goal and eight assists. What's important to note on this is how much Washington's offense improved after this: in the remaining 61 games the Capitals scored 192 goals. That's 3.1475 per game which would have put first, ahead of Ottawa's 3.1463. So although the total numbers for Washington and Colorado are comparable, Backstrom did the vast majority of his damage while playing for one of (if not the) the best offensive teams in the league and mostly playing with the best offensive player in the league. That is a pretty far cry from Statsny who spent part of the season getting second line time and part of the season getting first line time on a team that finished 15th overall in scoring.

For Backstrom compared with Doan and Statsny it's similar in the sense than in each case the other player had more goals and more points than Backstrom while playing in less aggressive systems on less talented teams (and certainly without someone like Ovechkin playing alongside them). Plus both Statsny and Doan are more physical player, Doan being a significant physical force in and of himself.

As I said, I wouldn't be surprised if Backstrom passes either or both of them this season but I just can't see ranking the guy who had the fewest goals and the fewest points, and played for the best team, the highest.

DMG said...

Just to clarify/expand on the difference between Backstrom under Hanlon and under Boudreau. Under Boudreau, Backstrom had 13 goals and 47 assists in 61 games, which comes to .213 goals and .984 points per game while playing for one of the league's best offenses and with Ovechkin generally on his wing. Statsny had .363 goals per game and 1.076 points per game in the 15th best offense and Doan had .35 goals and .975 points per game while playing for the NHL's 21st best offense.

JR said...

DMG, you must be an economist. Or worse, a lawyer.

JP said...

Easy, JR... I'm both. ;)

JR said...

Jesus JP.

I feel like that poor bastard in The Crying Game.

JP said...

Ha. On the plus side, I'm not currently practicing law and by "economist" I mean I have a BA in it. So I'm not that bad.

tg said...

Regarding the raking on Caps fans being 20th, currently I agree, if only because so few people turned out the past few years. (That being one of the criteria.) But if another team scores higher on the blog list, I'd be interested to see who it is and why.

norske said...

@tg: So far none of the 20 teams listed have a higher blog score than the Caps (7 out of 10), but the Caps are tied with the Blue Jackets at that score. The Blue Jackets?

Jimmy Jazz said...

1. The Caps should get at least a 9/10 in "blogging." I'll be the first to admit that our attendance has (overall) sucked for the last fiveish years.
2. Backstrom should have a spot on the top fifty. He's matured and he's gotten the NA format down.

Anonymous said...

2-Nicky Lindstron

The only debate on this list is if the best defenseman since bobby orr deserves to be ahead of who will be the the best LW ever.