Alexander Ovechkin the Great? More Like Alexander the Overrated

Bare KnucksAnalyst IMarch 24, 2009

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 03:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 3, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. The Capitals defeated the Devils 5-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

For the last couple months all we’ve heard about is, “Who’s better, Kobe or LeBron?”

Well, let’s switch sports here for a second and discuss an equally intriguing debate.

Who is better, “Sid the kid” or “Alexander the Great?”

For years even before Sidney Crosby entered the league, he was the talk of the hockey world, being compared the some of the greatest ever to lace up their skates.

And for the first few years of Sidney’s career he flashed that “greatest of all-time” potential and really brought Pittsburgh into the list of elite teams of the NHL.

Alexander Ovechkin leads the league in goals scored this year with 50 through 70 games, and has been tremendous overall for the Washington Capitals—but don’t be that casual hockey fan who only focus’ on that gaudy and sometimes overrated statistic.

Sidney Crosby is still only 21 years old, so plenty of time to continue growing here. Remember he does have a mere three years of experience under his belt and is already his team’s captain on the ice. Drafted first overall in round one of the 2005 draft, Crosby has ignited the Penguin turnaround, which saw them go from 23-47-8 during the 2003-04 season to 47-24-11 in 2006-07 and finally 47-27-8 in 2007-08. Crosby can be attributed for this success as much as anyone on that roster during that time-frame.

Ovechkin, also drafted first overall, but in the 2004 NHL Draft, and also with three years of experience, has been the heart and soul of the Capitals during his time with the team. Ovechkin has been such a consistent weapon at that LW position for Washington during his three years, its becoming harder and harder to ignore his tremendous talent.

When comparing career statistics between Crosby and Ovechkin, you’ll notice that Alexander has played in more games each of his three years with the exception of their rookie seasons in which they both played in 81, proving to be the more durable of the two.

Sure, Ovechkin has 213 goals in only 315 games, an incredibly impressive stat, but Crosby has a large lead in career assists (260 in 280 GP vs. Ovechkin’s 190 in 315 GP).

However, the statistic that I want to focus on is each player’s plus-minus rating. The plus-minus stat is calculated by keeping track of even and short-handed goals scored. When an even or short-handed goal is scored, every player on the ice during the goal gets a plus or minus. The goal scoring team obviously getting the plus. After combining the plus and minus’, you have each player’s rating. [Read more...]