Thursday, April 2, 2009

Win this Auto: Ilya Kovalchuk

So, you didn't think former NHLer Eddie Olczyk was worthy of your time or a mere 100 words in Hound Central 4.0's Win this Auto contest for March? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Maybe April's installment, featuring Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk on a 2008-09 Victory jumbo card, will provide enough motivation. If it doesn't, there's little else I can do.

Well, with greater rewards come greater demands. Tell me, in 100 words or less, why Kovie should still be mentioned in the same breath as these fellow Russians -- Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin. The most convincing argument wins.

As always, leave your entries in the form of a comment.

Check back, too, in a few days to see who won March's contest.

2 comments:

Christheleafsfan said...

I have pondered the question for the past couple days as well as done my research on the three players mentioned above - Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin. What I have found isn't suprising at all, well not to many people anyways.

Although not many players, if any at all can claim to be as good as or better than Alexander Ovechkin, I think there are many players that could claim to be in the same class as he is, And I do think Ilya Kovalchuk is one of them.

One stat I looked at was Goals Per Game, and here's what I found

1. Alex Ovechkin 0.68
2. Ilya Kovalchuk 0.54
3. Evgeni Malkin 0.48

Look at that! He's right in between the two russians mentioned above.

Assists per game:

1. Evgeni Malkin 0.78
2. Alex Ovechkin 0.60
3. Ilya Kovalchuk 0.48

Although Ilya has an assist per game average less than Malkin and Ovechkin, It's still pretty darn good at almost 0.5

Points Per Game:

1. Alexander Ovechkin 1.28
2. Evgeni Malkin 1.26
3. Ilya Kovalchuk 1.02

Although once again, Kovalchuk comes out in third on this stat, he is stil very close and is still competitive enough to improve greatly.

Bottom Line is, Kovalchuk is still a Point per game player just like Ovechkin and Malkin, he is over 0.5 Goals per game, just like Ovechkin, and is almost 0.5 assists per game like Ovie and Malkin.

In closing, who was it that put the stake in the heart of Canadians all across the country during the 2008 World Championship Gold medal game? Was it Alexander Ovechkin? No. Was it Evgeni Malkin? No, It was none other than Ilya Kovalchuk winning it in Overtime for the russians.

So if that isn't convincing, I don't know what is!

Bill said...

Facts:

-First Russian to be #1 pick overall.
-3 time All Star (2004, 2008, 2009)
-Maurice Richard Trophy in 2004 (w/ Nash and Iginla)
-2 time 50 goal scorer (Malkin hasn’t scored that much yet)

Comparison: the numbers are very similar if not better

Goals/Game
K:.533
O: .85
M: .47

A/Game
K: .48
O: .62
M: .78

Pts/Game
K: 1.04
O: 1.3
M: 1.26

PIM/Game
K: .7 min
O: .67 min
M: .99 min

% of PPG
K: 35%
O: 36%
M: 41%

GWG/season
K: 5.1/s
O: 8.5/s
M: 5/s

Shots/Game
K: 3.7
O: 5.5
M: 3.3

Career Shot/Goal%
K: 14.8
O: 12.2
M: 14.3

First understand that the 3 players have different styles. Ovechkin is a physical power forward-Sniper, who mainly shoots; his job is to score. Likewise, this shows as he has the highest goals/game, and GWG/season and shots/game. Malkin on the other hand is a physical, yet finesse centre. He is more of a pass first player with great vision and instinct on ice. Thus, his excels on assists. Surprisingly, Malkin has more PPG to total Goals ratio with 41%. Kolvy however is a player in between. He is second in Goals/Game, PIM/Game, GWG/season and shots per game. When he first got to the league, his biggest weakness was his inability to utilize his linemates. But as he got older, that aspect of his game improved (22 A, 29, 46, 46, 34, 35, & 48 A). However, since he has the lowest a/game out of the three, his pts/game is the lowest as well. The only surprising stat is that Malkin has the highest PPG ratio to total goals he scored with 41%, over Kolvy and Ovie. However, given that he doesn’t shoot as much, it just happened that more shots he took, have gone in on the power plays by chance.

Now, the intangibles… First, Kolvy is named to captain the Russian team in the 2010 Olympics. Further more, he won 4 medals including 2002 Olympic bronze medal as well as one gold in 2008 WCH where he scored game tying goal against Canada. Also, he was just 19 during the 2002 Olympics (the youngest player). Yet, he still managed to score a goal and 2 assists in 6 games, In 2006 Olympics, first timers Ovie (3 G) and Malkin (1G 2A) put up similar numbers in 4 games as teenagers while Kolvy scored 4 goals and an assist. Evidently, there is a trend that gifted players can make the Olympics as a teenager and manage to up at least 3 pts. Secondly, on January 11, 2009 he was named the captain of the Trashers. Before that, he scored 43 pts in 43 games. Afterwards, he has scored 47 pts in 35 games. Clearly, he is ready to lead the Trashers.

The biggest argument against Kolvy is his career -86 in +/- category while other two are in the positives. However, one must understand, Thrashers have made the playoffs just once since its inception in 1999, due to poor management. The best talents Kolvy played with are Kozlov, Hossa and Savard. Yet, the Trashers have lacked defensive and goaltending depth; thus were swept against the Rangers 2 years ago. On the other hand, Malkin and Ovie have had the privilege to play with Backstrom, Green, Fedorov, Poti, Semin, Theodore, Crosby, Gonchar, Fleury, Whitney (before the trade), Staal, Skyora, Orpik and the list goes on. If Thrashers can assemble right players or Kovalchuk goes to a more stable team, there is no doubt that he will not only put up great numbers but go far in the playoffs.

Therefore, Ilya Kovalchuk deserves to be in the similar league along with Ovechkin and Malkin.