GDB 11.0: OVIE ON FIRE

Jason Gregor
October 24 2013 12:56PM

Alex Ovechkin is my favourite player to watch in the NHL. I loved his "hot stick" celebration after he scored 50 goals for the 3rd time in his career, and right now he's scoring goals more frequently than everyone, including Steven Stamkos.

Ovechkin has 9 goals in 9 games this season, and 31 in his last 30 games dating back to last year. After scoring 32 goals in 2011 and 38 in 2012, many wrote Ovechkin had lost his offensive flair and had become too predictable.

Adam Oates became the coach of the Capitals and he convinced Ovechkin he could be more productive on the right wing, after playing the previous seven NHL seasons on the left side.

Oates moved Ovechkin to the right wing last year, and after some early struggles and adjustments, Ovechkin has returned to his elite scoring ways.

If you think 30 games is too short of a sample size to illustrate Ovechkin's dominant goal scoring ability, here's some more proof.

Since entering the NHL in 2005/2006 Ovechkin has scored 380 goals. The next closest is Ilya Kovalchuk with 309. Jarome Iginla and Dany Heatley are tied for 3rd most with 280 goals. In the previous eight seasons Ovechkin has scored 100 more goals than every player, except one.

What about Steven Stamkos you ask?

Stamkos is also an elite goal scorer, and since he entered the league, 2008/2009, he and Ovechkin are equally dangerous.Ovechkin has outscored him 217-213, and that four goal lead is due to a 9-5 Ovechkin advantage this season.

To be fair, if you exclude Stamkos' rookie season he has outscored Ovechkin the past four seasons. They are clearly the elite goal scorers in the game.

Iif you were one who wrote off Ovechkin, many of you scoffed at me when I said the Oilers should trade for him last February, you might want to reconsider your stance.

OVIE VS. YAKUPOV

Yakupov isn't going to be like Ovechkin, mainly because he isn't 6'3" and 230 pounds, but he has the potential to be a dangerous scorer like him.

It is interesting to note that Oates convinced Ovechkin to switch wings last season and go from his off-wing to the right side.Dallas Eakins has moved Yakupov from his off-wing to his natural left-side and he's hoping for the same results.

Keep in mind it took Ovechkin, a proven NHL scorer, 20 games to adjust to the new wing. The Oilers and Yakupov will need to be patient as he learns to play the left side.

Ovechkin admitted that he wanted to switch back to the left side early last year, but Oates convinced him to stick with it. Today, Ovechkin says he feels more comfortable on the right side than he ever did on the left. 

LINEUP

Marc Arcobello continues to shine. He is only the 3rd rookie in the past 20 years to score ten points in the first ten games of his rookie season. Sidney Crosby had 12 points in 2005, while Patrick Kane had ten. Arcobello has ten assists, and while he did play one game last season, this is considered his rookie year.

He's off to a great start. I don't expect him to produce like Kane or Crosby for the rest of the season, but if he continues to play the way he has, in both ends of the rink, he will be a constant contributor in the lineup.

Yakupov-RNH-Eberle
Perron-Arcobello-Hemsky
Jones-Gordon-Pitlick
Gazdic-Acton-Eager

Smid-Petry
Belov-J.Schultz
Ference-N.Schultz

Dubnyk

The Capitals have a big skilled group of forwards:

Johansson-Backstrom-Ovechkin
Erat-Laich-Brouwer
Chimera-Grabovski-Ward
Volpatti-Fehr-Wilson

Alzner-Carlson
Schmidt-Green
Erskine-Oleksy

Holtby

Smid and Petry will see a lot of Ovechkin tonight. "He is very difficult to contain. He's big, strong and one of the few skilled guys who likes to play physical," said Petry.

QUICK HITS

  • The Oilers should be able to generate a lot of chances tonight. The Capitals have allowed 34.3 shots/game (26th most) thus far, but the Capitals are also 10th in shots for, 31.4/game. Adam Oates stated he wants his team to be better defensively, but so far that hasn't happened.
     
  • Ovechkin has 5-3-8 in six games vs. the Oilers. His best game against the Oilers came on December 19th, 2009. Ovechkin potted two goals and an assist in the third period of a 4-2 comeback victory for the Capitals.
     
  • What makes Ovechkin such dangerous as a scorer is his ability to get off a hard shot from anywhere around his body. If a pass is behind him, in front of him, in his skates or close to his body, he is able to adjust his body positioning to get a shot off with velocity. His release point can change from shot to shot.
     
  • Devan Dubnyk has never faced Ovechkin. Tonight is his first chance to try and shut down one of the game's best snipers. He jokingly said he was excited and nervous at the same time.
     
  • Dubnyk told me the one adjustment he made after the first four games is that he is now coming out to the top of the crease to get set. If he does sink back, he is still out of his net more than he was in the first four games.

LOOKING AHEAD...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers pick up their third straight win with a 4-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Former Oiler Jason Chimera scores.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After scoring only two goals in the first nine games, the Oilers blueline continues their recent hot-streak with two more. Petry and Smid scored in Montreal, and tonight Anton Belov gets his first NHL goal and Petry pots his 3rd of the season.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Rocket
October 24 2013, 07:07PM
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I'm pretty excited to see Ovechkin vs. Yakupov. I bet Yak is jacked to play Ovie so it should be good to see.

Oilers need a good start to this game to set the pace. The last thing they want is to be running around trying to catch The Capitals and taking weak hooking & tripping penalties. The Caps powerplay is too good.

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#102 Oilersman
October 24 2013, 07:13PM
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I was actually the first to read this comment or at least there was 0 comments at the time but I didn't reply because of how long it takes for me to type from my phone. Also my non witty remark of trying to incorporate a fisting of some player was sure to be removed anyway. But to the article, which of our players could possibly turn out to be an Ovie type? Or do we have one of them but we don't know it yet until he is traded? Idk. Go Oil.

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#103 Alsker
October 24 2013, 07:55PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

The names may change, but the best player in the deal would be coming this way. What a role model for Nurse.

No arguement there, does management have the stones to at least throw the offer at the Preds.

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#104 Rocket
October 24 2013, 08:10PM
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@DSF

Totally. I like Nurse but I really wanted The Oilers to snag Monahan. Would have helped the centre depth problem. The Oilers just HAD to win those last two games of the season (for pride or something) and finish ahead of The Flames.

The season was lost already so they wanted those points? Sigh....

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#105 Alsker
October 24 2013, 08:13PM
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tough play by Yak on Ovies goal, went right by him charging to the point( I assume), wasn't going to mention his 1 on 3 attempt. Well he does have his feet moving tonight, a step in the right direction.

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#106 Harlie
October 24 2013, 09:01PM
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Wow, a lot of long faces and a few boo's in the barn tonight. Who's wearing this one??

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#107 spliff
October 24 2013, 09:34PM
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Why am I surprised. I really believed we would win this game, against a mid-level opponent at home. Oh, but I forgot, the Oil never win the first game home after a road trip. What was was thinking? So tired of this crap. Oilers need to string some wins together. Calgary loss today means we can close the gap, but its the same old sh*t and dance I've been watching, over and over again. So frustrating, why the hell do I bother. I think I need an exorcism to rid me of my Oiler fan spirit.

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#108 BingBong
October 24 2013, 09:48PM
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I thought we looked great in the 1st. Since then? Meh. Another no-show for the pp.

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#109 Asian on Oilers Nation
October 24 2013, 09:50PM
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Can we tank for Connor McDavid? One more

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#110 Zamboni Driver
October 24 2013, 09:51PM
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Men v. Boys.

Again.

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#111 FireKLowe
October 24 2013, 10:11PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

NUGENT HOPKINS IS A STAR?

The guy who fell over his skateboard when Backstrom put it in the net?

Good lord. I get that every team has this, but the ridiculous cheerleading on the part of the 'Sportsnet' (read: Oilers) employees is a joke.

Can't imagine them keeping Spec around much longer. He says...like...critical things. Geno never knows what the hell to do or say.

Also have you noticed Sportsnet never ever puts the camera on MacT or Lowe to capture their reactions after the Oilers get scored on like TSN or CBC do? You know who's wagging whose tail ...

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#112 srbuhr
October 24 2013, 10:15PM
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@Serious Gord

Hard to blame coaching after such few games but defensive zone system isn't working. The question is do u give it twenty games of which you lose 12-15 or do you simplify the system. I still can't figure out why we aren't covering the slot or the points. Regardless of the system keeping the puck away from these zones is a good idea. And it's time to penalize players for toe drag after toe drag. Shoot at the net and crash it. It is time to play hockey not non contact shinny. Finally the fourth line was very good and should have played much more, RNH, Ebs much less and yak essentially none after the second goal.

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#113 cubsfan
October 24 2013, 10:24PM
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As Bill Parcells once said, 'you are what your record says you are'...losing hope.....and i'm a Cubs fan

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#114 Devolution
October 24 2013, 10:47PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Argh....I'm watching my favorite oiler coast, not even coast, your floating Mr Nail Yakupov.

I know that you will come out of it and get back to that player I fell into a deep borderline disturbing man crush on last year.

2 things,

1... move your feet! Good things always happen....It's a hockey story as old as time.

2...Eakins is not Krueger, he will not Cuddle you. Man up a little, earn your spot and play hard. Your too good for this BS.

#Never going to be read by Nail

#Writing to him anyway

#It's more fun this way

Cuddle you? I am pretty sure Yak doesn't want to be cuddled.

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#115 Oiler63
October 24 2013, 11:17PM
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Tough puck luck today. Really didn't like the pass by the D man that iced the puck and led to the first goal. No capital player was even close to him and yet he made that bad pass nobody was ready to take. Oilers need to stop making that kind of play if they want stay in the game.

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#116 lolhockey
October 24 2013, 11:58PM
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It's pretty bad when I'm watching the Nuge line and I'm thinking, 'Don't pass it to Yak! Don't pass it to Yak!' The play just dies with him. What the hell...

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#117 NsxZero
October 25 2013, 07:24AM
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@Reg Dunlop

That's what me and my friends were saying at the game yesterday. We sure chose a bad time to suck. Imagine if we had an Ovechkin over any of our first overalls.

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#118 Heisenberg
October 25 2013, 07:45AM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Here's a suggestion for Oilersnation - Yakupov and Gagner to Columbus for Ryan Johansen and Ryan Murray. Pretty good fit for both teams, a #1 pick and a #6 pick for a #2 pick and a #4 pick.

Johansen is steadily progressing as a tall, big but not physical, sound defensive center. Ryan Murray is a great defense partner (extremely sound defensively) for Justin Schultz now, and both can develop together.

Personally I think that would be a "bold", yet ultimately sound deal for the Oilers.

Highly doubt jackets interested in another highly drafted russian. They got burned by filatov already

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#119 Rob...
October 25 2013, 08:02AM
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Harry wrote:

What about your golden boy down in Dallas? Your a complete retard

How can you get props for both calling someone a retard and misspelling You're in the same sentence?

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#120 Newj
October 25 2013, 08:24AM
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Heisenberg wrote:

Highly doubt jackets interested in another highly drafted russian. They got burned by filatov already

Also Zherdev was drafted in 1st rnd (4th overall) and he didnt pan out for them as well.

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#121 Zamboni Driver
October 25 2013, 08:29AM
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@Newj

Wait!

what are you talking about?!!

Yakupov being compared to Zherdev and Filatov?

Yesterday it was Ovechkin.

I'm so confused and distraught.

Okay I know...which one of those three people would try to go one-on-three then lose it in defenders skates time after time after time after time?

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#122 Newj
October 25 2013, 08:36AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Wait!

what are you talking about?!!

Yakupov being compared to Zherdev and Filatov?

Yesterday it was Ovechkin.

I'm so confused and distraught.

Okay I know...which one of those three people would try to go one-on-three then lose it in defenders skates time after time after time after time?

Lol...

actually Zherdev can dish very well..but Hitchcock didnt like his lack of defense...neither did Laviolette and he's not exactly known as a defensive minded coach. Nicolay sat many games as a Flyer under Peter.

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#123 madjam
October 25 2013, 08:58AM
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Oilers paying well considering . They just are not a good team . Results show , even when they are playing well , they still mainly lose , all excuses aside .It's up to Katz to fix this lost ship .

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#124 Oiler Al
October 25 2013, 09:17AM
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No Capital player including their stars, played more than 15 min. for the entire game. Yet, Oilers top guns played in the 20+ plus min. range. No wonder Caps, had more steam in the third period. Both teams had the same travel schedule.

Have to say this but their goalie out played Dubnyk.

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#125 tileguy
October 25 2013, 09:42AM
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I'm just glad I didn't shell out a few hundres dollars for me and the kid/wife/guest to watch this. Hey Katz, what are you and Kevin gonna charge for a seat in rexall2?

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#126 Itshallover
October 25 2013, 09:55AM
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tileguy wrote:

I'm just glad I didn't shell out a few hundres dollars for me and the kid/wife/guest to watch this. Hey Katz, what are you and Kevin gonna charge for a seat in rexall2?

LOL I still have that problem.

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