If you’ve grown tired of hearing about the Phoenix Coyotes’ excruciatingly slow death in bankruptcy court and can’t handle witnessing another implosion of the NHL Players’ Association (the third time in four years, if anyone’s counting), here’s a 2009-10 fantasy pool-friendly flashback to last season, offered up in a “Did you know…” fashion:
Everyone knows Alex Ovechkin led the NHL last season with 56 goals in 79 games.
But did you know that Ovechkin’s teammate in Washington, Alexander Semin (aka ‘The Other Alex’) scored 34 times in 62 contests? Pro-rated over 82 games, that translates to 45 goals, which would’ve tied for third overall in the NHL. Could there be two 50-goal-scoring Alexes in Washington this season?
And did you know Ovechkin had the most assists among non-centers in the NHL in 2008-09? It’s true. He finished 10th overall with 54; the nine guys ahead of him, from Evgeni Malkin’s league-leading 78 to Mike Ribeiro’s ninth-place 56, all play the pivot position. (Truth be told, Ovechkin tied for 10th with fellow goal-scoring winger Jarome Iginla, but the Flames power forward played three more games.)
And while Ovechkin’s teammate, Mike Green, easily led all NHL defensemen in goals (31; eight more than Edmonton’s Sheldon Souray and Nashville’s Shea Weber), it was Montreal’s Andrei Markov who led all blueliners in assists, with 52. Green also led all D-men in points (73), with Markov second (64). Don’t forget, though, that Green only played 68 games; if he’d stayed healthy and continued scoring at the same clip, he’d be looking at an 88-point season. To put it in perspective, the last defenseman to record 88 or more points in a single season was Boston’s Ray Bourque back in 1993-94. Only 10 NHLers last season had a better points-per-game rate than Green’s 1.07 (among NHLers who played in at least 20 games).
And did you know former-Wild-now-Ranger Marian Gaborik had the fourth-best points per game among all NHLers, at 1.35? And that Gaborik edged out none other than Sidney Crosby (1.34)? Of course, Gaborik played a mere 17 games, so he was tied for, uh, 319th in overall NHL scoring with 23 points. But with 15 even-strength points in 17 games, Gaborik was the NHL’s most dangerous forward at 5-on-5 last season. At least in the 17 games he was on the ice – he wasn’t so lethal in those 65 games he missed. The good news for the Gaborik-less Wild is that the guy they signed to replace their former franchise face, Martin Havlat, tied for second overall in even-strength points, with 63. Only Evgeni Malkin, with 70, had more 5-on-5 points than Havlat; Ovechkin also had 63, while Crosby had 62. New Jersey’s Zach Parise rounded out the top five with 61.
And did you know Shane Doan, dog love him, scored 31 goals and 73 points for the Coyotes last season? Or that Vyachelsav Kozlov, Kovie love him, scored 26 goals and 76 points for Atlanta? Of course, Kozlov’s output was aided by 43 power play points, second-most in the NHL behind Ovechkin’s 46.
And, finally, did you know blogging fodder gets a little thin at this time of year? Yes, you probably did.
But also know this: One more week and NHL training camps begin.
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