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Help Me Understand: Hot Takes, Around the NHL, and More

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Jason Gregor
1 month ago
Welcome to the 12th edition of Help Me Understand.
Sports, hot takes, and narratives. Some make sense, others perplex me.
It has been a while since our last edition of Help Me Understand, but there are many things to ponder today.
— I need help understanding how Alex Ovechkin continues to score goals at such a ridiculous rate. This stat by the NHL outlines how age has not slowed him down at all. Here is the breakdown of how many games it took him to score goals by the 100s from the first to the eighth.
GoalsGPGoalsGP
0-100167401-500168
101-200130501-600190
201-300178601-700155
301-400162701-800162
He just scored 100 goals in his 162 games, which is the third quickest of his career. The second quickest was going from 601-700. Unreal.
Barring injury, or a major slowdown, Ovechkin is poised to break Wayne Gretzky’s regular season record of 894 goals during the 2024-25 season, and probably before Christmas if he stays healthy.
— Watching Ovechkin continue his amazing scoring rates at ages 35, 36, and 37 it makes me wonder if we’ll see a player join Wayne Gretzky in the 2,000+ points club? Sidney Crosby has 1,447 in 1,137 games. Since 2017 Crosby has 509 points in 430 games (1.18 pts/game). He needs 553 points to reach 2,000, and if he maintains the same scoring rate, he’d need to play 470 games to reach 2,000 points. That would be the remainder of this season, plus five more without missing many games. In his fifth full season, he would be 40 years of age, and many elite players are playing into their 40s. It is possible, but likely not until he is 41 years of age. How likely?
— As I look deeper, the stats and scoring rate help me understand that Connor McDavid has a better chance, today, based on scoring rates and projections. He is farther away from 2,000 points than Crosby, so the risk of injury is higher due to more games being played, but he hasn’t missed as many games as Crosby did early in his career due to concussions, and that means he is on pace to be much younger when he is pushing for 2,000 points.
McDavid has 756 points in 517 games. His career average is 1.46 points/game, but since the 2020 season, McDavid is averaging 1.67 pts/GP (230 games). He is just entering his prime, and with more education on training, nutrition, sleep, rest, recovery and increased scoring across the NHL, McDavid reaching 2,000 points is very realistic. If McDavid maintained a pts/game average of 1.46 he would reach 2,000 points in game 1,370. That is another 853 games. He could play 52 games this season, so after this year that would be 10 more seasons to reach 1,370, barring any major injury. That means he’d be close near the end of the 2032-33 season when he is 36 years of age.
Even with some injuries, he could reach 2,000 in 2034 or 2035 when he is 37 and 38 years of age. Ovechkin has proven that the greats of the greats can still produce in their mid to late 30s. Help me understand why McDavid can’t. I don’t see any reason, other than a few serious injuries, why McDavid won’t reach 2000 points.
— I’m sorry, but Beth Dutton is becoming too unrealistic or believable as a character. Help me understand why the writers of Yellowstone think her actions are remotely believable? Bethany has jumped the shark and she’s become incredibly unlikeable and annoying.
—  While Yellowstone isn’t as great, in my eyes, White Lotus only gets better. What do you think Daphne and Ethan did during their walk in the season finale? I understand why they didn’t show it, because it lets us debate what happened. But, I don’t love it. I want to know.
— Help me understand why hits suddenly matter for the strong supporters of Puljujarvi. I think it is great he has added a physical element to his game and is using his massive frame to his advantage more. It is good, but for three years all I heard was that hits don’t matter and Zack Kassian at $3.2 million needs to do more than hit. If you think hits don’t matter, that’s fine, we will disagree, but don’t turn face and suddenly say they are a positive because Puljujarvi is doing it. Puljujarvi is struggling offensively. It sucks for him, but many players have suffered from a lack of confidence at times. It is part of pro sports. Only a select few can avoid it. Puljujarvi is not as bad as his numbers show right now. He isn’t a three-goal scorer, just like he wasn’t as good as some claimed last year and, in the summer, when they went as far as to say he makes McDavid better. I don’t care what the stats suggested, it was a reach to try and connect them to Puljujarvi making McDavid better. The massive pendulum swings in how some perceive Puljujarvi is something I don’t understand. If he is a solid third liner, there is nothing wrong with that. He could become a regular top-six winger, but only if he dedicates to improving his puck skills.
— Help me understand how the Anaheim Ducks have one regulation win in 30 games? They have won in OT four times and twice in the shootout, but they are 7-20-3 and have been outscored 130-70. Ouch. They are that bad, and I’d be cautious in evaluating any player based on how that team plays. Opposing GMs will be looking to buy low as most available player’s have brutal numbers, but I could see many of them playing better on a new team.
— I’m perplexed as to why Toronto didn’t want to re-sign Zach Hyman for $5m. He is an incredibly consistent player. He’s smart positionally, works his ass off every shift and is one of the more likeable people you will meet. He isn’t a pure finisher, very few are, but watching him on a regular basis I don’t understand why any team who had him wouldn’t want to sign him at $5m. I get they had cap issues, but I would have moved out other players to keep him. The Oilers got incredibly lucky he became a free agent. He, along with Evander Kane, has given the Oilers the tenacity and skill they needed to play with the highly skilled McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
— I’ve never seen a player dominate a team like Draisaitl has the Nashville Predators the past few years. And it’s not like the Predators are the 2010-2012 Edmonton Oilers, who were the worst defensive team in the league and allowed the most goals over those three seasons. In his last 10 games v. the Predators, Draisaitl has 20 goals and 30 points. He is averaging two goals/game. The Predators have the 10th-best goals against/game in that time. He is obliterating a quality defensive team. I can’t understand it. I don’t recall seeing anything like it.
To put his dominance over the Preds into perspective, here are the next 10 highest pts/game averages from a player v. a team (minimum 10 games) since the start of the 2018-19 season.
Connor McDavid: 2.40 v. Nashville (24 points in 10 games including six goals).
McDavid: 2.17 v. Winnipeg (39 points in 18 games including 12 goals)
Mitch Marner: 2.10 v. Florida (21 pts in 10 games, including eight goals).
McDavid: 2.09 v. Arizona (23 pts in 11 games including 15 goals).
Patrick Kane: 2.00 v. Anaheim (20 pts in 10 games with nine goals).
Draisaitl: 2.00 v. Chicago (22 pts in 11 games with nine goals).
Nikita Kucherov: 2.00 v. Florida (22 points in 11 games including eight goals).
David Pastrnak: 2.00 v. Ottawa (20 points in 10 games including seven goals).
McDavid: 1.95 v. Vancouver (43 points in 22 games including 15 goals).
Jeff Skinner: 1.92 v. Montreal (23 points in 12 games including 12 goals).
Draisaitl’s 2.00 goals/game would tie him for fifth.
His 20 goals are the most v. any team since the 2018-19 season. The next 10 highest ranked by goals/game.
McDavid (1.36): 15 goals in 11 games v. Arizona.
Auston Matthews: (1.00) 16 goals in 16 games v. Vancouver.
Skinner (1.00): 12 goals in 12 games v. Montreal.
Matthews (0.84): 16 goals in 19 games. v. Ottawa.
Patrik Laine (0.82): 14 goals in 17 games v. Chicago.
McDavid (0.79): 19 goals in 24 games v. Calgary.
Sidney Crosby (0.77): 14 goals in 18 games. v. Philadelphia.
Pastrnak (0.77): 14 goals in 18 games. v. Philadelphia.
Phil Kessel (0.77): 14 goals in 18 games. v. San Jose.
Draisaitl (0.72): 13 goals in 18 games. v. Winnipeg.
— Help me understand how you can’t get excited about the World Cup of soccer. When best of the best are playing, in any sport, I find it fascinating. It would be amazing to book a flight to France or Argentina for Sunday, just to be in the middle or the excitement in those countries. Both of those countries will be on pause during the game.

MONTH OF GIVING…

Thanks to Brent and Jake for their great bids.
DAY 10: Package #1: Realtor Fees from Michelle Derk of Schmidt Realty:
  • Up for grabs is the seller’s commission for your house. (In a regular sale half the commission goes to the seller realtor and half to the buyer. So this is $3,500 on the first $100,000 and 1.5% on the remaining.)
On a $500,000 house that is a value of $9,500.00. On a $600,000 house that is a value of $11,000.00 and so on.
You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. to TSN 1260 today while we support Santas Anonymous.
Package #2: Golf at Eagle Rock
 
  • 12 pack of passes with cart.
  • Four $50 dollar gift cards for the pro shop.
  • Dinner for four at the Clubhouse.
  • Pair of seats (lowerbowl) to the Maple Leafs/Oilers game on March 1st.
You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. to TSN 1260 today. Money raised will go towards Operation Friendship Seniors Society.

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