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Yeah, it's a lame topic for a post, but I'm out of town for the weekend, and got boatloads of email related to my recent article on first vs. second assists and the Hart Trophy that got posted over at FoxSports.com - apparently any gainsaying of Sidney Crosby's achievements brings the fans out in droves! Here are some of the highlights...

I like the argument as to whether or not the second assist is more or less valuable then the first, however, a major stat that gets overlooked in determining the Hart winner is the +/- rating. Do me a favor and add that factor to the computation and see if Mr. Ovechkin and his -19 rating is really worth Hart Trophy mentioning!

Sincerely, a relocated Penguin and Sid"the kid" FAN.

-Matthew

You're right, bringing +/- into the argument certainly doesn't help
Ovechkin, although we always have to remember the limitations of that
stat (namely the influence of your teammates on your numbers).

The comparison of first assists to second assists is a joke becuase in Ovechkins case the last time he ever passed a puck was probably at the dinner table. You also must look at the fact that first assists are counted on rebounds which is the only way Ovechkin will ever get an assist. If they took that away as an assist I would say your comparison has some kind of merit.

- Jeff

Ah, but creating a shot on goal that leads to a rebound opportunity is just as valuable as a pretty pass to set up a one-timer, is it not? I wasn't looking for who's the best playmaker, just trying to add a dimension to how we look at offensive production.

Say what you want to about how "great" Ovechkin is but he's a minus 19. That's awful! Crosby is a lot better than him. Jordan Staal is better, heck he is plus 20 something. That's as important of a stat as primary vs. secondary assists.

-Steve

Hmm... good point. Hey, whattaya know - Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa have even better ratings than Crosby's... +/- can indeed help illuminate things, but it's somewhat "fuzzy" as well, given the impact of who's on the ice for and against your team at any given time.

Bull.... You are digging pretty deep to discredit Sid "The Kid" - although you recovered some credibility when you stated how you earned your points. Don't forget the key plays that open the ice for the scorers and result in the goals usually happen well ahead of the puck going into the net. Do not belittle Sidney's contribution to his team and the game!!
-Just South of 60


Well said, but keep in mind, I'm not saying the first vs. second
assist decides my MVP consideration, it just adds another aspect to
the analysis. I feel quite comfortable stating that in general, first
assists are worth more than seconds..

Obviously being a Penguins fan I hold a ‘little’ bit of bias towards Crosby, but when Ovechkin’s team has 60 points & Crosby’s has 88 points the debate stops there. Without Ovechkin the Caps very possibly could still have that many points, but the Pens in no way, shape, or form would be remotely close to 88. There isn’t a person on the planet that could argue that one in favor of Ovechkin. I do think Alex is a very good player, but Syd’s gonna be the man for years leading the way. You could make the statement all the way back to ‘The Great One’, though he’d still be way ahead of the pack in points, he’d have many many less.

-Eric

Just remember the Hart is for an individual, not a team. I'm sure many Pens fans pulled for Mario for a Hart trophy even though his team had some rough seasons. That said, I don't think the first vs. second assist analysis necessarily concludes that Crosby's not the best player in the league, just that the gap isn't as wide as the normal scoring standings would indicate.

Like a costumed Trekkie outside a movie theater, you need to get a life. You have way too much time on your hands. Then again, why am [I] spending time responding?

-Joe

The thing is, with wireless internet these days, I can be the costumed Trekkie outside the movie theater, and write these articles at the same time! Ain't life grand?

Keep those emails coming, folks - interaction is what makes this whole thing worthwhile.


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