Friday, December 15, 2006

Sticking Up for Radulov, Preds

Howdy. Every several months or so, it seems, I get the urge to write a letter to a sports writer, usually to set them right about some egregious error they made. Often times, I�ll post this letter to the blog so you can all share in my arrogance.

This time, the letter isn�t very mean at all�it�s complimentary. Darren Elliot writes about the NHL for Sports Illustrated, and does a great job. I really like a lot of his columns.

His most recent column was good, and you can read it here.

He�s talking about Sydney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin�the newest and brightest upcoming stars in the NHL. And those guys are both crap-your-pants amazing.

Check it out.

In this video clip, Ovechkin has a breakaway with only one defender to beat...and he's in the middle of falling down. And somehow, through all that...he still manages to direct the puck into the net. Amazing.

Then there's this clip of Crosby against the NY Rangers. First there's a breakaway goal shown...but the real gem is the second goal on the video...where he speeds and weaves through four opponents to score unassisted. Sweet! Clip is about 30 seconds long. Darren's a good writer...he is writing about young hockey stars...what's to complain about? Well, he left Radulov, Nashville's own Russian phenom, off the list. That ain't right! And he also just decided to award the Calder Cup--rookie of the year--to the Penguin's Evgeni Malkin. And Malkin's awesome too...but he's only up 5 goals on Radulov, despite playing more games.

So here's my quick rant to Mr. Elliot:

Dear Darren,

I always enjoy your columns...seriously. And Ovechkin and Crosby are the new generation's stars, for sure. They are genetic wonders.

But I have to take issue with your statement near the article's end regarding Evginy Malkin "surely" being the Calder Trophy winner this year.

Two points:

1. Surely you know it's far too soon to make that statement. Rookies can go hot or cold at a moment's notice, and injuries are always a caution. Statements like these are better left to the end of the season...maybe March.

2. I know you're aware of our own little Russian phenom, Alexander Radulov (or as he's called here now, A-Rad, which is lame and cool at the same time). The kid is gifted, even if the rest of the league doesn't pay enough attention to our market to know it.

Just wanted to point out that Malkin has played 26 games and has 15 goals. Radulov has played only 18 games since being called up and has 10 goals. The paces are virtually identical...and if both players played an 82-game season their current pace...they'd end up with 45-47 goals.

Granted, Malkin's been up the whole season, and has a head start on Radulov. But Rad's not going back to Milwaukee anytime soon. Malkin could get injured or hit a dry spell. Heck, Rad's only five goals in back of him as it stands right now.

My point is obviously that Malkin is not as far ahead as the mainstream media makes it seem. Is he great? Yeah. Is he leading all rookies? Sure. Is he a lock for the Calder? Not even close.

Just thought I would remind you about our own Nashville Russian rookie sensation. I've heard national hockey writers on the radio suggest that in the long run, he may be a better all-around player than Ovechkin or Malkin, because he has added natural ability with his speed and his hands, in addition to his pure goal-scoring ability.

Keep writing more hockey columns...and you should write them more frequently.

Don't forget about our Preds!!

Ken Worthy

So there you go. Not too mean.

By the way, Radulov's already becoming known in the NHL for his youthful exuberance and celebrations after he scores. Here's a video of that, from his junior days...where he spins his stick like a sword in a scabbard.


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