NHL BLOG, SIX PACKS ON ICE: Big Names Starting Small
I’m not a big shopper, but I know what a name brand good is. Whether it’s clothing, food, or alcohol, in some cases the name brand product is worth its hype and in some cases it’s purely all hype. For example, in my opinion (and hype worthiness is in most cases purely subjective) Lucky Charms is a name brand cereal that isn’t worth its bloated price because its “off-brand” cousin Marshmallow Mateys tastes just as delicious. Hockey stars, all athletic stars in fact, are comparable to this. Your name brand hockey players are your Alex Ovechkins, Sidney Crosbys, etc.
These name brand players are supposed to be your cream-of-the-crop, but, like the Lucky Charms example, sometimes they don’t live up to their ballyhoo. I mean, really, have you seen Ovechkin on the front of NHL.com because of his latest hat trick? Me either. Now I’m not saying that ALL the stars are doing poorly; Zach Parise is playing alright, Steve Stamkos is upholding his reputation, and Crosby, although not breaking records, isn’t completely sucking. (But for all the statements about Crosby being the best player in the NHL he should be performing better than he is currently.)
Looking around today’s sports pages I am seeing the following headlines:
- “8 NHL Stars Who Aren’t Scoring Nearly Enough” from Bleacher Report
- “Devils are winning, so Ilya Kovalchuk’s scoring slump isn’t a concern” from NJ.com
- “Alex Ovechkin can relate to Phil Kessel’s scoring drought” (ouch!) from The Washington Times
- “On the ‘D’-fence: Weber’s woes worry fantasy owners” from NHL.com
- “Tyler Seguin changing on the fly: Bruins center wonders if playing in Switzerland is a factor in his slow start” from ESPN *I have to disagree on this one, perhaps Seguin isn’t posting huge numbers, but it seems like he’s doing just fine. Last night he jumped from 225th in the league to 113th with an extra goal and an assist against Montreal. See his amusing “Hot Dog Goal” below.
By the league rankings (in points):
- 2nd Steve Stamkos- 16 points
- 6th Sidney Crosby- 14 points
- 25th Pavel Datsyuk- 10 points
- 32nd Jonathan Toews- 9 points
- 98th Claude Giroux- 6 points
- 112th Jaromir Jagr- 6 points
- 113th Tyler Seguin- 6 points
- 136th Dustin Brown- 5 points
- 146th Ilya Kovalchuk- 5 points
- 147th Alex Ovechkin- 5 points
There are a lot of consequences that came about due to the 119-day lockout, and while it is likely a factor for why these name branders are coming up short, I will not entirely blame their struggles on lockout. Some of these guys were playing in other leagues through the full NHL discussions, so we can’t even pretend to blame Bettman. What then is the reason behind the slump?
Perhaps Ovechkin’s excuse is his new lady friend. Spending the end of the summer with girlfriend (now fiancé) Maria Kirilenko at the Olympics, this Russian hockey star has been all about spending time in his new relationship. Can we blame the dude? No, she’s a bronze-medal-winning blonde babe. But could this be a distraction from his game? As the captain of the currently last place team in the Eastern Conference I think we need to say yes.
Maybe the others are still trying to wrap their heads around the on-goings that lead up to this 2013 season? Maybe playing abroad changed their style of play too much and adjustments are still being sorted out?
What do you think the reason is behind this recession of name brand hockey players?
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