Thursday, February 07, 2008

As the season moves along...

Something else to consider when ponder the deserving for trophies at the end of the year...or just another glimpse at the magnitude of how special a season it is that is unfolding for Alex Ovechkin.

Below is chart depicting cumulative goals/assists/points per game. Put another way, it is a graphical representation of how it is Ovechkin got to his 46-27-73 in 55 games.

There really isn't anything surprising here. The troughs in the chart correspond to the period leading up to Thanksgiving. Through 21 games, Ovechkin was 14-9-23 (0.67 goals-per-game, 0.43 assists/game, 1.10 points-per-game).

Since then however, the goals and points per game have taken off (0.84/game and 1.33/game, respectively). Even assists -- which critics in some quarters point to as a lack of playmaking skill -- have increased from that 0.43/game to 0.49/game (a 14 percent improvement). But what matters is the nature of the lines -- they lean upward. This is happening in the midst of a pleasant reversal of the Caps' fortunes.

And these are "cumulative" effects over the entire season, warts and all. If you look only at these last 34 games, Ovechkin's 32-18-50 works out to per-game figures of 0.94-0.53-1.47. In terms we might all understand, that's a pace for a 77-43-120 season. It would be overkill -- hockey being the team sport that it is -- that Ovechkin is carrying the team on his back. But it would not be overkill to conclude that his has been the most valuable contribution to the reversal of fortune (at least among the players) over the last 34 games.

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