By In Baseball

The Agony of Alex

From NBC SportsWorld:

“Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, the fates seemed against Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. The puck kept hopping over his stick like a child jumping puddles. His shot — maybe the best pure shot in the history of professional hockey — kept streaking off target. Like Artie Fufkin of Spinal Tap fame, Ovechkin had no timing … no timing … no timing. …”

The Agony of Alex

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9 Responses to The Agony of Alex

  1. Swissvale says:

    Here are the top 10 all-time leading goal scorers in NHL/WHA history by name (goals/assists/pct of points that are goals)

    Gretzky (940/2027/31.7%)
    Howe (975/1383/41.3%)
    Jagr (749/1119/40.1%)
    Hull (741/650/53.3%)
    Dionne (731/1040/41.3%)
    Esposito (717/873/45.1%)
    Gartner (735/652/53.0%)
    Messier (695/1203/36.6%)
    Yzerman (692/1203/36.6%)
    Lemieux (690/1033/40%)

    Here is Ovechkin (525/441/54.3%)

    The only other players in the top 10 who have goals count for at least half of their total points are Hull and Gartner.

    So no, Ovechkin isn’t doing anything wrong if he wants to be considered a great goal scorer – but miles to go before being considered a great hockey player.

    • Jack Bartram says:

      Stupid comment. You’ll note that the players with significantly lower % of goals are centers. It is their job to distribute. It’s like looking at Tom Brady and criticizing him because most of his yards come through the air, very few on the ground. Or Adrian Peterson because he gets a vast majority of hos yards rushing, not receiving. Those with higher percentages are scoring wings, like Alex. If you don’t already consider Alex Ovechkin a great hockey player, you are an imbecile who’s opinion is utterly worthless in this discussion because you know absolutely nothing about the subject.

      You’ll notice you NEVER hear players or coaches state these opinions. Only uninformed fans.

      The real question, in this TEAM game where one player only plays a third of a game, give or take, and the goalie is vastly more important to success than any position player, is where in the pantheon of goal scorers Ovechkin will be. Right now, adjusted for era, he’s one of the top 3 goal scorers ever in a sport in which the main aim is to score more goals than your opponent.

      • Swissvale says:

        Please excuse my imbecilic first post – this “ice hockey” thing is new to me and I had no idea that there was different positions requiring different skills. Maybe I’ll list the top ten scoring “wingers” (is that the correct term???) and see how stupid and idiotic my first post was. I’ll exclude Messier since he played both.

        Howe – 41.35% of points were goals and 13.10% of his shots were goals.
        Jagr – 40.09% and 15.10%
        Brt Hull – 64.43% and 15.70%
        Gartner – 52.99% and 14.00%
        Selanne – 46.94% and 15.4%
        Robitaille – 48.27% and 18.00%
        Shanahan – 48.45% and 12.10%
        Andreychuk – 47.83% and 14.00%
        Iginla – 47.99% and 13.20%
        Bby Hull – 54.35% and 12.40%

        Ovechkin – 54.35% and 12.40%

        So you are correct in pointing out my mistake when I included centers in my first evaluation and said that only Gartner and Hull have a higher rate – I should have just used wingers and said only Gartner and the Hulls.

        But he is crushing Shanahan on the goals to shots taken percentage so he has that going for him.

        • Dan says:

          There’s something missing from your argument.

          1. The majority of his points come from goals.
          2. A higher proportion of his points come from goals than most other high-scoring wingers.
          3. ???
          4. Therefore he cannot be a great hockey player.

          Number 3 has got to be something like “To be a great hockey player, you need to get more assists than goals.” I’m curious what it is, and what your rationale for it is.

          I mean, it could be that he’s just THAT GOOD at scoring goals.

          • Swissvale says:

            Ovechkin was only player to score 50 goals in the regular season this year which is commendable. But he shot 390 times. Patrick Kane only scored 46 goals but took over 100 less shots. If he took as many shots as the one trick pony Ovechkin he would have had 62 goals. Joe Pavelski would have had 66 if he took as many shots. You need to do more than sit in the circle waiting for a one timer to be considered a great player as opposed to a great scorer.

          • Dan says:

            Now you’re changing the criteria. The reason he’s not a great player is not because he doesn’t get enough assists per goal, but because other people have higher shooting percentages.

            WIth due respect, it’s silly to draw inferences from shooting percentage by comparing Ovi to the other guys on that list. The biggest reason for that is goalie save percentages have increased consistently from .873 in 1983 (the first year has stats) to .915 in 2015. Goalies used to let in about 13 goals per 100 shots; now they let in about 9.

            So when Hull scored on 15.7% of his shots in a career through the 80’s, he was scoring two to three percentage points higher than league average. When Ovechkin scores on 12.6% of his shots now, he’s scoring three to four percentage points higher than league average.

            And this means Ovechkin is an inferior player.. exactly how?

            If you want to say you don’t like his style, you don’t think he’s a great player because he doesn’t play hard on defence, fine. But stop grasping at statistics that are, at best, open to interpretation, to try to prove your point.

        • professorbohn says:

          Assists is hockey are incredibly inconsistent, and some aren’t even the result of a pass. If you take a shot on goal, the goalie makes a save, and someone else scores on the rebound, you get an assist. You’re not less selfish simply because your initial shot was unsuccessful. Likewise, you can do nothing all game but pass the puck and get 0 assists if no one scores.

          There’s also this:

          Using assists as some sort of proxy for selfish play is simply flawed.

      • Tampa Mike says:

        Ovechkin is a selfish player and puts himself in front of the team. You can win games like that during the regular season, but it is much more difficult to win a series in the playoffs. He is a great goal scorer and player, but will never win a cup.

  2. Marc Schneider says:

    I don’t know enough about hockey to comment intelligently on whether Ovechkin is a great player or needs to be more of a team player or anything. Much of the time, I don’t really know what I’m looking at. But, whenever a guy with fancy stats does not win a championship, people always say he is selfish or not a leader or blah, blah. The fact, Michael Jordan was selfish; he took most of the big shots. And, while I don’t know for sure, I would be willing to bet that he got criticized for not being a team player until the Bulls got over the hump against the Pistons. And, then he became the greatest winner in history (other than Bill Russell). Now, they are saying the same thing about Bryce Harper. Even John Elway was criticized until the Broncos won. As for Ovechkin, all I heard this season and during the playoffs as well, was how much pressure he put on the other team, not just for scoring but doing other things. Crosby didn’t do much in the series either. Again, I’m not pretending to be a hockey expert, but it seems to be common practice that if a star doesn’t win a championship, it’s his fault. And, somehow, people seem comfortable with making these absolutist pronouncements that so-and-so will never win a championship.

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