Sports Bruce Arthur: Eight is surely great, if you only measure Ovechkin by goals

05:37  14 march  2018
05:37  14 march  2018 Source:   thestar.com

A resurgent Eric Staal arrives in Vancouver as one of NHL’s best bargains

  A resurgent Eric Staal arrives in Vancouver as one of NHL’s best bargains It is difficult to remember, but there was a dominant version of Eric Staal before this one. VANCOUVER – It is difficult to remember, but there was a dominant version “Tyler Ennis asked me this morning: ‘Were you in the Olympics?’” Staal says, referring to his Minnesota Wild teammate. “Yeah, I was.”Staal wasn’t just in the 2010 Olympics here. He was part of the greatest Team Canada in hockey history, the first-line winger alongside Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla, who combined on the most famous Canadian goal since 1972.

By Bruce ArthurSports Columnist. Of the 18 players with more than one Hart Trophy, only Ovechkin has never won a Stanley Cup, or even played for one. Ovechkin had eight goals and 14 points in that seven-game loss to Pittsburgh in 2009.

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Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin is the best goal scorer in NHL history, once the numbers are adjusted for eras.© Alex Brandon Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin is the best goal scorer in NHL history, once the numbers are adjusted for eras.

There is no magic to turning 30, or 40, except they are odometer birthdays. It’s the roundness of the number, the crossing over into a new place. Where have I been, and where am I going?

Alexander Ovechkin scored goals number 599 and 600 Monday night, and sits 20th all time. If he plays long enough, well … fifth overall is 131 goals, or five low-end Ovechkin seasons, away. Gretzky’s record of 894 isn’t close, but it could be reached.

And as he rolls over these round hills, we can revisit the central fact of his career: Alexander Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer ever to play hockey, and it is a blessing and a curse.

Ovechkin, Laine share goals lead with head-to-head on deck

  Ovechkin, Laine share goals lead with head-to-head on deck The NHL's current goal leaders are set to go head-to-head in Washington on Monday. Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets scored his 40th goal of the season in a loss to Philadelphia Saturday, remaining red hot and drawing even with Alex Ovechkin for a share of the league lead.A 40-goal season and 15 in his last 11 games. Yes, @PatrikLaine29 is definitely a scoring machine. pic.twitter.com/gzqxYnS7Ne— NHL (@NHL) March 10, 2018For his part, Ovechkin failed to hit the back of the net in a win in San Jose later in the day.Up next for the the two star wingers is a Monday showdown as the Jets visit the Capitals.

Bruce Arthur : Eight is surely great , if you only measure Ovechkin by goals . But the Capitals star has never been past the second round of the playoffs, and has to shoulder the blame for his team's failings. Read more

Late goal in regulation and Kaprizov power-play marker in overtime gives Russians the gold and underdog Germany the satisfaction of a silver, knowing it could have more, Bruce Arthur writes. →.

“I like Ovi: He’s got a real personality, he’s got a love for the love, a real zest and energy for life, and I think he’s great for the game,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s amazing: the puck just goes in when he has it. I mean, he can get it off by the legs, through the legs, around people like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

“With great players, sometimes we take for granted what they do,” says TSN analyst Ray Ferraro, who scored 408 NHL goals in his 18-year career. “We’re always measuring everybody off of what they do, and I think we kind of forget the reason we do that is because what they’re doing is special.”

The only players to reach 600 in fewer games than Ovechkin were Gretzky, Lemieux, and Brett Hull. But it was easier to score in the 1980s and 1990s, back when the front of the net was, as Ferraro puts it, a “woodchopper’s ball,” but goalies might as well have smoked cigarettes during games. If you adjust for the results of his era, as Hockey-Reference.com does, Ovechkin has scored faster and more easily than anybody who has ever lived. In his first 990 NHL games — 13 seasons — Ovechkin has scored 0.697 goals per game, adjusted for era. That’s about 57.2 adjusted goals per 82 games played.

Ovechkin vs. Laine vs. Malkin: NHL stars race to 50 goals

  Ovechkin vs. Laine vs. Malkin: NHL stars race to 50 goals WASHINGTON - Patrik Laine knows where he stands. The Winnipeg Jets winger might not keep track of each time Alex Ovechkin or Evgeni Malkin scores, but he knows how many goals they have. "I just sometimes look at the scoreboard and the score sheets," Laine said. "I always pretty much know where's everyone at." Laine is tied with Ovechkin at 40 goals atop the NHL and is looking to reach 50 for the first time in his career at age 19 and win his first Rocket Richard Trophy. Ovechkin, at 32 years old, is 10 away from his eighth 50-goal season and could win his seventh goal-scoring title.The race comes down to Ovechkin and Malkin — the Nos.

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Eight is surely great , if you only measure Ovechkin by goals . He lost the NL MVP award in one of the closest votes in history, but there was nothing about Votto's year that said second best, Bruce Arthur writes.

By comparison, Mario Lemieux’s 915-game career number was 55.2; Gretzky, in his first 13 seasons and 999 games, was at 49.8; Hull, 51.4; Pavel Bure, 54; Mike Bossy, 50.3. Among contemporaries Steven Stamkos is at 52, and Patrik Laine in Winnipeg, the most natural heir, at 52.5. That’s an impossibly elite list, and if you believe a player can only be measured within the context of his era, Ovechkin tops them all.

And it puts him squarely at the intersection of how we measure hockey players. Of the 18 players with more than one Hart Trophy, only Ovechkin has never won a Stanley Cup, or even played for one. You can go back to Gordie Howe and of the skaters who won a Hart, only Ovi, Eric Lindros, Henrik Sedin, Joe Thornton and young Connor McDavid haven’t won a Cup. Nobody has achieved the heights of Ovi, without a ring.

Which makes him perhaps the most uniquely polarizing figure of this hockey age. What is greatness?

Alex Ovechkin joins NHL's exclusive 600-goal club

  Alex Ovechkin joins NHL's exclusive 600-goal club Alex Ovechkin joins NHL's exclusive 600-goal clubThe captain of the Washington Capitals scored twice Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets to reach the milestone in his 990th regular-season game. Ovechkin became the fourth-fastest player in NHL history to 600 behind only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull.

J. Sutt Retweeted. Bruce Arthur ‏Verified account @ bruce _ arthur Mar 13. you - only - measure - ovechkin - by - goals .html … When you retweet the Capitals' Sidney Crosby goal highlight #NHLAllStar is a strange time for all of us.https

There's a case that Alex Ovechkin is hockey's greatest goal scorer stuck in an era when goals are hard to come by. ( Bruce Bennett / GETTY IMAGES).

“I mean, there are series where he’s been great and they lose,” says Ferraro, who called several of those earlier Capitals playoff losses. “There are series where he hasn’t been great, and they lose. And hell, the Caps have found every conceivable way to lose. And you can point at him, but I don’t, necessarily, because there are some guys there whose playoff numbers that don’t correspond to their regular-season numbers.”

That’s a central question of the Ovechkin era: He has been on three Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams, won three Harts and three Ted Lindsay awards as the best player chosen by players, and has never been out of the second round. How much is his fault? Ovechkin had eight goals and 14 points in that seven-game loss to Pittsburgh in 2009. He had 10 points in seven-game loss to Montreal the next year, and 10 shots on goal in Game 7. He had seven goals on 85 shots in back-to-back-to-back series losses to prime Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers. He had 14 shot attempts in Washington’s Game 6 loss to Pittsburgh in 2016. All of it for naught.

Last year, playing on a Nazem Kadri-injured knee, might have been the nadir. In that Game 7 loss to Pittsburgh last year at home, with their Cup dreams on the line, the Capitals had six shots on goal in the third period. In that span Ovechkin had one shot blocked, and his lone shot on goal was a slap shot from the neutral zone with nine seconds left in a 2-0 game. The Capitals had a road to a Cup, and dissolved. How much was his fault?

Kuznetsov marvels at Ovechkin's milestone: 'Holy f--- that's a lot of goals'

  Kuznetsov marvels at Ovechkin's milestone: 'Holy f--- that's a lot of goals' Kuznetsov marvels at Ovechkin's milestone: 'Holy f--- that's a lot of goals'Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, linemate of superstar Alex Ovechkin, paid witness to history.

Some. Not all. It’s hockey. You need a whole team.

“Because he’s the unquestioned leader on that team, he’s going to wear it, justified or not,” says Ferraro. “It’s Crosby and Ovechkin, Ovechkin and Crosby, and it’s been that since the moment he came into the league, and it’ll be that until they leave, and they’ll be laid side by side together.”

That’s the solution to the riddle. It’s because he’s great that he gets blamed. The greater he is, the heavier the weight. It might not be fair, but it’s the game. Alexander Ovechkin has been a gift to hockey, and as he sails further into the realm of hockey immortals, that will be his cross to bear. Unless he wins.

Bruce Arthur: This season’s NHL boasts no dominant Hart Trophy candidate .
So ESPN made a list of the 20 most dominant athletes of the last 20 years, and it was a little silly, to be honest. Mike Trout made it, and he’s played six seasons. Usain Bolt was 10th. Peyton Manning edged Tom Brady, 3rd to 20th. It had two car drivers. It’s the kind of thing designed for people to bat around, to argue about in bars and on Twitter, and to distract us from the state of the world for a few minutes. Done.And there were no hockey players on the list, natch. In team sports there were two basketball players (LeBron James and the WNBA’s Lauren Jackson), three soccer players (Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and Marta on the women’s side), two baseball players (Trout and Barry Bonds), and the two foo

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