Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Remarkable Consistency of Alexander Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin has now played 337 games in the NHL. Looking at his ten-game segments, what is striking is his remarkable scoring consistency. The breakdown, from his first ten-game segment to his most recent:

337 games (through October 31, 2009) games -- 233 goals, 210 assists, 443 points . . . Through 130 games, he was a metronome -- 13 points every ten games, like clockwork. There was a 40-game spell during which he "slumped" a bit (20-12-32). But in his next seven full ten-game segments, he was never been below 10 points. He is currently on a nine-segment streak in which he scored at least ten points.

Oh, and Alex was named a first-team all-star for the fourth time on the heels of his 2008-2009 season. He is the only player in NHL history to be named a first team all star in each of his first four seasons in the league.

updated: November 1, 2009

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!! -- Caps vs. Rangers, December 30th

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!

This is a special medical edition of The Prognosto, featuring a panel of esteemed medicos – Dr. Marcus Welby, Dr. James Kildare, Dr. Victor Ehrlich, and Dr. Ben Casey.

(They’re all dead, Peerless)

Uh, no their not, Kildare is still around somewhere, and Ehrlich it tooling around in his hybrid car.

(ok…whatever you say)

So, doctors…we have a number of Caps on the shelf with illness and injury. What do you prescribe to get them back on the ice?

Dr. Welby: “Leech”

Dr. Casey: “Welby, you always say ‘leech’”

Welby: “No, you idiot, ‘Leetch.’ The defenseman? Don’t you follow hockey, Casey?”

Dr. Kildare: “Or?”

Welby: “Or what, sonny?”

Kildare: “No, Doctor…’Orr.’ He was great when I was an intern.”

Dr. Ehrlich: “They have medicine when you were an intern?”

Kildare: “That’s not very professional…”

Casey: “Could they use a ‘pronger?’”

Welby: “you surgeons, always wanting to use fancy instruments…”

Casey: --rolls eyes—

Kildare: “maybe the problem is no Klemm”

Welby: “phlegm?”

Kildare: “No, you ossified fart, ‘Klemm’ . . . plays for the Stars”

Ehrlich: “Phaneuf”

Everyone: “gesundheit”

Well, so much for the masters of medicine, how about the game? . . . The Washington Bearitals come into the back half of yet another back-to-back on a 1-5-0 run and slipping through the standings. They dropped to tenth in the conference last evening, but could – with a win against the Rangers tonight and losses by Ottawa, the Islanders, and the Bruins – climb all the way into a tie for sixth in points in the East. Such is the crowded situation these days.

The Bearitals come into this game with the possibility of having to fill multiple slots with call-ups from Hershey. Matt Pettinger, Brian Sutherby, and Steve Eminger missed last night’s game with the Devils due to stomach flu. Chris Clark, Mike Green, and Brian Pothier played under the influence of that bug. John Erskine remains out, as do Bryan Muir and Matt Bradley with injuries. Begs the question, who does Hershey ice in a first-place showdown against Norfolk tonight?

However, the story here is the Rangers. If you haven’t been paying attention, they’ve lost seven in a row. That isn’t the half of it. In that streak, the Rangers were shutout in their last two games (2-0 to the Islanders, 1-0 last night to Ottawa), Michael Nylander was benched for the entire third period of the game against the Islanders, Jaromir Jagr has only two goals and is a -4 in the losing streak, they are 4-for-37 (10.8 percent) on the power play in their last seven, 22-for 33 (66.7 percent) in penalty killing, Brendan Shanahan has only one goal in his last ten games. If there is a light at the end of the Rangers’ tunnel, it is that goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been excellent in the two shutout losses, stopping 63 of 66 shots (95.5 percent). But even that has a down side. Since Lundqvist has played in the last three Ranger games, the second half of their own back-to-back might call for Kevin Weekes to get a start. Weekes has had some problems in this stretch of Ranger futility – 0-3-0, 4.24, .857 in four appearances.

These are two teams fumbling for a way out of recent misery. They have different problems, though. The Rangers haven’t been able to score much – 11 goals in seven games. The Bearitals haven’t been able to stop anyone – 25 goals allowed in their last six contests. So, it’s the resistible force against the moveable object tonight. Who blinks first? Well, the difference could be the level of effort and the crowd. The Caps haven’t lacked for effort in this slide, and the Ranger crowd could be in the mood for red meat – wearing blue jerseys. A fast start would do wonders for the Bearitals’ chances here, and Alexander Ovechkin likes a big stage. It could be ugly for the blueshirts, especially given that wounded Washington is served up as a remedy for their own recent woes. 2006 ends on a good note for the good guys . . .

Caps 4 – Rangers 1.

The Morning After -- Caps vs. Devils

Well, The Peerless called that one, didn’t he . . . whoever scores first wins? It’s a sign of where the Caps are at the moment that scoring first would have no meaning; that a club having difficulty coming back in such situations should not only do so, but carry a two-goal lead into the final minute.

And as for the guys who were going to be the bricks and mortar of a win? They were laid up in a hotel room battling a stomach virus, according to Tarik El-Bashir’s column in this morning’s Post. Matt Pettinger, Brian Sutherby, and Steve Eminger – all of whom have been struggling lately – ended up on the shelf. Three more players -- Chris Clark, Mike Green, and Brian Pothier – were ill, but dressed. Pothier’s minutes were reduced by eight from his average for the season; Clark and Green played slightly less than normal.

All in all, it would be hard to find much fault with the Caps last night, especially with the lineup they iced:


Alexander Ovechkin
Dainius Zubrus
Chris Clark
Alexander Semin
Boyd Gordon
Brooks Laich
Kris Beech
Ben Clymer
Jakub Klepis
Donald Brashear
Brian Sutherby Dave Steckel
Matt Pettinger


Brian Pothier
John Erskine Lawrence Nycholat
Bryan Muir Jamie Hunt
Steve Eminger Timo Helbling
Jamie Heward
Shaone Morrisonn
Mike Green


Olaf Kolzig

If there was one line that reflected the evening and had The Peerless scratching his head, it was this one . . . Brook Laich, from Lawrence Nycholat and Kris Beech. That could have been a scoring line from last spring’s Calder playoffs. And here’s one for you . . . Lawrence Nycholat registered the first two point game (1-1-2) by a defenseman in almost a month (John Erskine . . . John Erskine?? . . . December 2, vs. Buffalo). The last one before Erskine’s was October 30th (Shaone Morrisonn vs. Calgary). Whodathunkit, eh?

But here is the nub of the matter . . . New Jersey really hasn’t played like that much a better team than the Caps this year (they came in with 43 points, the Caps 39). But they know how to win games, and they know how to take advantage of an opponent’s weaknesses, especially when that opponent has holes in its lineup. For the Caps, the effort was there – Herculean in fact -- but not the ability to finish. That comes with experience – another lesson on the road to competitiveness.