Friday, February 3, 2012

I Miss Alex Ovechkin



Honestly admit it, you miss Ovi. Yes I know he's still playing, I'm not crazy, but he just isn't really the same guy. Remember the days of crazy Ovi? Remember when you would watch a game and you just knew Alex was going to put on a show? I miss those days. I miss turning on a Capitals game and watching that crazy missing-toothed bastard terrorize opposing goalies and steamroll anyone who got in his way. Where have you gone Ovi????? What's wrong? Is it me, why have you forsaken me!!!!??? Ok maybe I'm getting a little dramatic here, but seriously what is up? Let's do some math shall we? (I know sorry, math major here! I gotta put that education to good use!)

Ovechkin's Career NHL Stats











Season       Team          GP     G      A       P       +/-       PIM    PP       SH       GW         S           S%
2005-2006  Capitals     81      52    54     106         2      52        21        3         5            425        12.2
















2006-2007 Capitals 82 46 46 92 -19 52 16 0 8 392 11.7








2007-2008 Capitals 82 65 47 112 28 40 22 0 11 446 14.6

2008-2009 Capitals 79 56 54 110 8 72 19 1 10 528 10.6
2009-2010 Capitals 72 50 59 109 45 89 13 0 7 368 13.6


















2010-2011 Capitals 79 32 53 85 24 41 7 0 11 367 8.7












2011-2012 Capitals 47 20 19 39 -4 24 8 0 1 171 11.7














NHL Totals                 522    321  332     653      84     370        106     4        53          2,697      11.9

All right I know not everyone is a math nerd like me, so I'm gonna break this stuff down. If you just want a summary of what I'm about to explain here it is.
  • The more Ovechkin shoots, the more points he gets
  • Alex's numbers have all been career lows lately, but he is slowly regaining his old pace
  • If Ovi continues to trend upward at his current pace he has the potential to have close to 100 points this season
If you want to know how I came to these conclusions, aka you aren't afraid of a little math, read on. If not just scroll to the bottom and check out some videos of Ovechkin doing crazy shit. 

 
Ovi has tallied only 39 points in 47 games so far this season (20g, 19a).

That's .83 points per game, that's behind last years average of 1.07.

He tallied a career low 85 points last season, and is on pace to score only 66 points this year (given he plays in the remaining 32 games for the Caps).

In Ovi's best season points wise (07-08) his PPG was 1.37.

Just for fun let's look at his PPG (Points Per Game Average) for all his NHL seasons.
  • 05-06 1.30 PPG
  • 06-07 1.12 PPG
  • 07-08 1.37 PPG
  • 08-09 1.39 PPG
  • 09-10 1.51 PPG
  • 10-11 1.07 PPG

Interesting stats when you consider Ovechkin has never ducked under the PPG level in his entire career. If he continues on this years pace it will be the first time ever he meets that unfortunate fate.

There is however a stat that I think really helps to put into perspective why Alex's numbers are down and that's his shots stat (denoted above in the "S" column). If you look at the chart Ovi has scored 100 points or less in only two seasons. In both those seasons his shots were under 400. The only other year his shots dipped under 400 was the year he played only 72 games (09-10). So what does this mean? Well it means that the more chances he gets  (i.e. shots) the higher odds are he'll get a point, pretty logical yes?

Well what does this stat mean for him this year? Alex is currently on pace for 287 shots. A career low by a WIDE margin. Ah, yes we see the problem. We have already established that more shots = more points, and with Alex on pace for a career low in shots it's quite obvious why he would be on pace for a career low in points.

Ok so moving on, there's one more stat that interests me, and that's shooting percentage (denoted in the S% column above. Shooting percentage is the percentage of shots that result in a goal ). Alex's career low was last year at 8.7%. It's no coincidence last year he also had a career low in shots, and a career low in points. What does this mean? It means one of two things, either he a.)had terrible luck, or b.)he started talking shots from lower percentage scoring areas on the ice. Option A is pretty much self-explanatory. Option B is more subjective, is there really a bad place on the ice to shoot? Yes, there is. You are statistically more likely to score from the slot (the area of the ice between the face-off dots) than you are from the face-off dot's to the boards. You are also more likely to score from below the top of the face-off circles to the goal line than you are from above them to the blue line.

So is Alex the victim of bad luck, or bad shooting? Honestly, it's a combination of both. He had a year where he was snake-bit, he just couldn't score. It happens to every player, what he did as a result is force plays and force shots from lower percentage scoring areas. When that happens you get a "chicken and the egg affect", which came first and which caused which. It put Ovi in a position where he was frustrated and understandably doubting himself. It also put the Washington Capitals into a tail-spin that they have yet to recover from.

Alex is the kind of player that needs that "swagger" to be good. He can't doubt himself, and he can't doubt his ability to score. He has to feel that every time he steps onto the ice his team is going to score a goal. Alex needs to be that guy, he leads by example out there. It is a fact that as Ovi goes, as do the Washington Capitals. So what now? Where does this leave Alex and his team? Well there's a glimmer of hope. Even though Ovi's shots are way down, his shooting percentage is right about where it should be. At 11.7% he's right on pace for a career average. Not great, but trending in the right direction. Hmmm...sounds a lot like how the Capitals season is going yes?

Let's take a look at Ovi's shooting percentage the last 20 games vs. the first 27. The first 27 games saw Alex at a 9.73 S%. Ouch. Not as bad as last season, but still far below average. In the last 20 games however Ovi is looking at around an 18.0 S%. Pretty impressive. It seems that whatever funk he has been in may have been lifted and his confidence has come back. All good things.

Now let's look at the points stat again for him this season. He's looking at that career low 66 points, again ouch. But let's look at this again but with Alex's stats from the last 20 games only. His PPG the last 20 is .95 with 19 pts. Again well below average but trending in the right direction. So what does this mean? Well if Alex remains scoring at the .95 PPG he has the last 20 he will end up with 30 more points the rest of season giving him 69 points, a career low.

So what gives, I thought Ovi was back? Well he is. Here's the thing, Alex is still playing below average but trending upward. Which means if Alex continues to trend upward at the same pace for the rest of the year he should be OK. For example, if Alex scores at least his career average of 1.29 PPG for the remaining games he will score 41 more points this year giving him 80 points. That will give him 80 points in 79 games, for a 1.01 PPG average, still a career low. But ah, there it is above 1.

Pre-warning the math is about to go crazy on your ass right now!!!!!!

But let's talk about Alex's trending upward percentages right now. I've separated the season into two groups the first 27 games and the last 20 games. In the first 27 games his PPG was .74, in the last 20 it has been .95. In the last 20 games his PPG has gone up .21. That is a 7.9% rate jump in 20 games. Let's say he continues to progress at the SAME rate, which means every 20 games his PPG percentage goes up 7.9%. That means during the next 20 games he will have 26.5 points. That would give him a PPG of 1.09 after 67 games. Let's say he keeps this pace the next 20 games which would mean he would get 35.1 points after 87 games. Ah, but there's only 79 games possible, so we deduct those games and get the number of points after 12 games at 31.9 (let's make is nice and round and call it 32.)

Ok sorry for the crazy math, if you didn't follow this is all you need to know. If Ovi's numbers continue to trend at the same rate they have for the last 20 games he will finish the year with 97.5 points (let's round it to 98). 98 points in 79 games is a 1.24 PPG, right about where it should be. So essentially if Alex regresses to the mean (math talk for getting back to the average rate) he has the potential to crack a 100 point season out. Yay Ovechkin is back people let's party!!!!!

Of course none of this math means anything because this is real life and anything can happen!!! So yay! I just wasted like 4 hours doing this b/c it means nothing, but hey I killed come hours where no hockey was happening and that was a success! Enjoy the following videos!


                                                                          Still seriously one of the greatest goals ever.

                                                    Holy Fuck Right???? Made that guy look like a junior player, unreal.

                                                  I'm pretty sure no one else on his team needs to be on the ice for him to score ever.

                                                hahaha what? who just stops like that, and no one can catch him? wow!

                         Does anyone have a better one-timer than Ovi? Really it's a bullet, completely unstoppable.

                          I've seen his patent speed up the wing, cut to the middle and snipe 1000 times and still never gets old.


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