GDB 11.0: OVIE ON FIRE

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 

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It is starting to look like Marcobello is eating Gagner’s lunch.

    I wlll start work on a new statue.

    It will be of Sea biscuit; with Marcobello and Pisani on his back!

    Kevin Lowes face will reside where the horses ass should be!

    • 24% body fat

      Just curious ,

      When was the last time anyone in the PAYING PUBLIC heard from
      Mr Kevin Lowe ? You hiding Kevin ? a person in your position
      should at lest once in a while address the concerned fans instead
      of dining with the recluse owner of ours, Life good Kevin ?
      Great – i am happy for you, you are so over rated always were imo.
      Good thing for you our owner is pretty much Duh with the business
      of running a hockey team. Yes, he is great with drug stores. Hockey
      teams are just a notch in his belt.

      Go retire Kevin , please.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Arco is blowing my mind. I never would have pegged him to have the start he did. In fact, I think I even bemoaned the idea of him on the big club this off-season. Keep him as the 2C and see how far he can take it.

  • Bucknuck

    Jason Chimera is one of those players that I was pissed off when they traded him. Big fast and gritty… and of course they traded him. I guess they really needed those draft selections, and they already had a great third line: Reasoner, Pisani, and Moreau.

    But damn… we could have used him the last 8 years.

  • Bucknuck

    I think Arcobello continues to play in the top six and can put up 60-65 points. I don’t think you can move him outta that 2nd line center position or you need to. He’s hardly noticeable out there, and then at the end of the night he’s got two points and 60 percent in the dot.

    Having Sam Gagner back is a great problem. I think he slots in as your 3rd line center playing with Yakupov. Yak will take off then. Slot Gordon as your fourth with Pitlick and whoever and start rolling four lines 5×5. I don’t know about Acton as a winger, but I think he deserves to continue to play. Maybe this team will have depth after all.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    I was still skeptical about Arcobello up until the last 3 games or so, but it’s great to see him starting to develop some confidence and start shooting the puck more.

    Jason, do you see Gagner playing the wing when he comes back given Arcobello’s better faceoff numbers?

    • Jason Gregor

      I don’t see why not. Can’t move Gordon down. He is their best faceoff guy and defensive C…

      Gagner can play wing for a few games and see how things work out.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Lets hope the Oilers out skate the Capitals and play a north south game like they did in Montreal,because they wont win many puck battles along the boards. Capital’s are one big team. The smallest guy on the team, under 6 ft, and 200 lbs is Grabovski, and he can be strong on the puck.

    The other point is that Dubnyk as to stand on his head, to give Oilers advantage, as Capital goal tending is no that strong.

    • pkam

      That would make Yak motivated. It would be eye opener for him. Ovi has really improved his defensive game. He would give Yak an education in what a seasoned vet performs like.

    • Alsker

      Well at least this would mean we dont get shut out…unless your referring to one of QSBs!! (Apple a day keeps anyone away, depending on how hard you throw it..lol)

        • Alsker

          Now,now,lets be nice, he actually reminds me of my x-wife. Just because he doesnt see things through rose colored glasses or drink Oiler flavoured Kool-aid with us doesn’t mean hes all bad or always wrong. Granted there are days you’d like to string him up by his ankles and watch choke on his own blood, all-in-all I’d rather have him themn the the anti-Oiler DSF.

  • Rocket

    Well, i really hope Mr Yak decides to show up one of these days. He is
    now playing with elite linemates, there are no more excuses.
    Look at a less talented Sean Monahan playing with lesser linemates.

    Looks like Glen X is not doing so well in Cowtown any longer
    and the flame faithful are fed up. Sure would be nice to have him back here. He is a quality bottom 6. Wont happen though.

    Come on Oil- its time we won one Big. 5-2 Oil, Perron with a hatty.
    Something about him, awesome trade, he is talented , shifty, and does
    not give a crap and will be in your face. We need 2-3 more Perrons
    only slighty bigger.

    • Jason Gregor

      If you recall correctly I said Montreal wouldn’t trade him for the #1 pick in 2012. Why would they have? People wanted Oilers to get him so Habs could take Yak and Galchenyuk.

      Oilers would have jumped at that, Habs wouldn’t have.

    • Jason Gregor

      Even before his concussions he wasn’t close to the goal scorer of Ovechkin. He’s a better overall player, but he isn’t as good of a goal scorer.

      His best year was 2010/2011 when he had 32 goals in 41 games. If he kept that pace, which he never had at any other point of his career, he would have had 64.

      Crosby is a better player, but not a better goal scorer.

      • 24% body fat

        looking at Ovie numbers you can say he is a 45-50 goal score every year if you round out the numbers or discard the outliers.

        What I am getting at is take a way the injury years and go to the year crosby really took the next step and it appears that crosby will be a consistent 45-50 goal scorer going forward.

      • Bucknuck

        One of the funniest moments of the Jets 1st season back in the ‘Peg was against the Caps with the entire rink chanting “Crosby’s better” when OV hit the ice. Classic

      • Jason Gregor

        Crosby is the best player in the game, but it is interesting that he has never been a consistent goal scorer. He did finish 1st with 51 goals in 09/10, but other than that one season, he has never finished in the top 10 in goal scoring. Some of that has to do with injury, but in the 4 seasons where he has missed 5 games or less in a season, he has finished 1st, 12th, 14th, and 20th in goals.

        Even last year when he was on fire, he only had 15 goals (56 [points) in 36 games…

      • 24% body fat

        Thing to remember is that Ovie was 20 when he started in the NHL and Crosby was 18. Two year younger can really affect per game totals. Remember the year Crosby got the concussion he was on pace for 60 goals. He has more recently become more of a goal scorer as he got older.

        Start Crosby when he is older and take away the injuries and I bet he is right there.

  • I tried it at home

    Well Im fairly sure Yak and Belov will be fired up to play Ovechkin. Hopefully they dont stand there gazing at him in awe. Heres hoping the Russkies on our team have a great night, and thiers DO NOT