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Sakic & Naslund to battle it out for the Art Ross?

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01-09-2004, 08:34 PM
  #1
Mizral
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Sakic & Naslund to battle it out for the Art Ross?

All due respect to Robert Lang, Pavel Datsyuk, and Shane Doan, whom are all in a bit foreign territory and can't be necessarily counted on to reproduce the 1st halves, and Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa, whom very well might be there, but are awfully young...

It looks to me like it'll be Markus Naslund versus Joe Sakic from here on out.

Naslund, after tonight, sits with 22 goals and 48 points in 42 games (1 game missed due to injury.

Sakic sits with 18 goals, 46 points in 39 games (1 game missed due to injury) and has 3 games in hand to Markus.

Earlier this season, I predicted Sakic would take the Ross, and many folks were foolish enough to say he's slowing down and he's not like he was. Interesting how you don't hear that anymore? Sakic has never won the Ross I don't think, but he was the runner up 3 or 4 years ago as I recall (lost out to Jagr).

Naslund has never won either, and was the runner up two years running.

Both of these guys I would say have a better shot of keeping up their pace over Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, Hossa, and the like as they are veterans who perhaps are more reliable & consistant than the others. Though I think of the three, Kovalchuk and Hossa in particular seem like they could easily have the ability to be right there in the mess.

Last two years winners don't seem to be much of a factor this year. Forsberg was injured for a long while this year and it's unlikely he'll be able to make up those missed games. Iginla has seemingly slowed down (though is still a great player) since then, and I don't think will be in the running at all.

I'm pretty sure we can all reasonably rule out Hull, Savard, and now Palffy since he's injured. Alfredsson and Tkachuk I don't think will be quite up there.

There are three other possible canidates - Jaromir Jagr, Todd Bertuzzi, and Joe Thornton. All three are about 10 points behind the leaders, but all three have the ability to make up the difference. Jagr has won the Ross before and has never had a problem putting up points. Bertuzzi is notoriously a second half player and could at any moment now start putting up a massive streak of points. Thornton was 3rd in points last year and you can't count him out as a point getter.

Anyways - Sakic and Naslund seem like the top mid-season contenders for the Ross, and I'd be willing to put money on them both being in the top 3, barring injury, by seasons end.

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01-09-2004, 08:37 PM
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Don't discard Kovalchuk and Datsyuk... those two are unbelievably talented. I wouldn't be surprised to see them go 1-2

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01-09-2004, 08:57 PM
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Of all the guys listed so far, take a look at their regular linemates. Or at least the other players they get the most time with. Most of them play with some great offensive players. One I know doesn't.

Kovalchuk rarely if ever plays with guys like Savard and Kozlov at even strength. He plays alongside guys like Stefan and Vigier, not exactly offensive machines. He's near the top in points without offensive linemates. Some of the others could accomplish the same thing if they had to I'm sure. But he is pretty much the only one right now who is. Hope I'm wrong, but I doubt he'll be there in the end for the Art Ross.

This isn't (strictly) bias from an Atlanta fan. Too many others with hockey IQs well beyond mine sing his praises. Maybe it's because I've been able to see him in person more than a few times. Whether the team has been good or bad, winning the game or losing it; when he starts rushing up the ice everyone gets louder and waits for something to happen. Few players can do that, just imagine what it would be like with some highly-skilled linemates.

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01-09-2004, 09:01 PM
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Sakic will win the race over Naslund by one point on the last day of the season... I'm not even going to go there again. :mad:

As long as the 'Nucks do well in the playoffs... the 'titles' can go to whomever for all I care; that's how I'm approaching things this season.

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01-09-2004, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia
Sakic will win the race over Naslund by one point on the last day of the season... I'm not even going to go there again. :mad:

As long as the 'Nucks do well in the playoffs... the 'titles' can go to whomever for all I care; that's how I'm approaching things this season.
One thing working against hometown Joe is he can be injury prone at times.

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01-09-2004, 10:36 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monster_bertuzzi
One thing working against hometown Joe is he can be injury prone at times.
I would have to disagree with you on that one.

He missed some games due to an unfortunate incident last season (broken foot after a collision with a teammate) but other than that he's been in fine health the last four years now.
He may have lost a step, but he's still playing at a pretty good level

Are you sure you aren't confusing him with Forsberg



And I would agree with Mizral, Sakic and Näslund look like the main contestants for the Ross this year. Bertuzzi will be there too, and you can never count out the likes of Thornton, Jagr and Hossa either.
Kovalchuk will suffer a bit from being overplayed by Hartley in the beginning of the season I feel. And Datsyuk won't be far of too, but I don't see him winning it.

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01-09-2004, 11:15 PM
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Um... Sunfin anyone? He's up about 7 points on Thornton for instance, and has been hot after a slow start of the season. Not that I think he will be #1, but I'd say his chance is better than for instance Thornton, and comparable to Hossa. And he isn't that far back of the leaders either...

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01-10-2004, 02:18 AM
  #8
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I would look for Super Joe's point totals to dropoff a bit in the second half with the return of Peter the Great.

Yes, Miz Datsyuk is young, and doesn't quite have the name recognition as the other two, but with the supporting cast of vetrans and all-stars, I just don't see him having the second half sag.

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01-10-2004, 07:15 AM
  #9
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I picked Super Joe to win the Art Ross before the season started and I will stick with it. Naslund and Kovalchuk will battle for the Richard.

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01-10-2004, 08:40 AM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belgian Fan
He missed some games due to an unfortunate incident last season (broken foot after a collision with a teammate) but other than that he's been in fine health the last four years now.
He may have lost a step, but he's still playing at a pretty good level
That's beside the subject but wasn't Burnaby Joe's broken foot because of a slap shot last season ?

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01-10-2004, 08:47 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habsolution
That's beside the subject but wasn't Burnaby Joe's broken foot because of a slap shot last season ?
You're right, my bad.

he got injured being hit by a Zubov slapshot:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hocke...d-update_x.htm

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01-10-2004, 08:52 AM
  #12
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All due respect to Sundin, but the guy has been a point-a-game player for years now. It would be certainly out of character for him to have a 90+ point season this year, but even if he does, I doubt he can put up the same number of points as Sakic or Naslund.

Datsyuk I don't think will sag per se, but he won't have as strong as a 2nd half as a first half. He's a talented young player, but he doesn't yet have the veteran savvy nor the experience to pull it over the full season.

Kovalchuk I would say is IMMENSLY talented, but it's not his year this year. As many of you know, I am a massive Kovalchuk fan. However, we must all remember, while he is a phenomenal talent, he's still got 10 years behind Sakic and Naslund, and that's 10 years of experience.

Hossa, Thornton, and Bertuzzi are all fairly young and could jump up there - who knows. Out of the three, I am inclined to say that Hossa is the greatest threat to Naslund and Sakic of all other players.

I would put my money on Naslund, but I said Sakic before the season started too. Either way, fans in BC will have something to cheer about if one of 'em wins it.

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01-10-2004, 08:52 AM
  #13
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I too think it will come down to Naslund or Sakic. These guys are playing on 2 teams that will be in a dog fight for position for the rest of the year and are veterans and should be able to keep up with the rigors of the NHL consistantly. I think the younger guys will peter out a bit but still end up in the top 5-10.

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01-10-2004, 09:29 AM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizral
All due respect to Sundin, but the guy has been a point-a-game player for years now. It would be certainly out of character for him to have a 90+ point season this year, but even if he does, I doubt he can put up the same number of points as Sakic or Naslund.
And Markus Naslund wasn't even CLOSE to a point per game player for nearly NINE NHL seasons. He's certainly blossomed in his last three seasons - recording above a point per game in each of those seasons.

However, to say that Sundin isn't capable is just wrong. Even with Naslund's sudden "dominance" he only has ONE season where his point per game total has been higher than Sundin (that would be last year with 104 pts in 82 games.). In fact, I did NOT include one of Sundin's early seasons with Quebec (114 pts in 82 games) due to the fact that it wouldn't be fair to compare offensive stats nearly a decade apart.

Toronto fans have always stated one of two things when arguing Sundin's talent and value. 1.) The lack of a supporting cast 2.) Ice-time.

For most of Sundin's tenure in Toronto, he hasn't recieved as much ice-time as he deserves (i.e. close to 21 minutes) or when he has, he has been surrounded by a pitiful cast. In fact, over the past 6 seasons, Sundin has been below 20 minutes all but once.

Sundin is a guy that thrives on more minutes. With the additions of Nieuwendyk and Nolan AND playing 20+ minutes a game; Sundin is producing like Toronto fans know he can.

Edit: I guess I forgot to add this bit of vital information to my post. I don't particulary see Sundin challenging (esp being a top 2-3 contender) for the Art Ross this year. However, I do think he has the talent and the capability and it is NOT something that is beyond his scope.

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01-10-2004, 09:38 AM
  #15
Mizral
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Sundin has the talent, but no longer the capability. He is slowing down, last season was a good indication of that. Don't get me wrong, Sundin is still an awesome, awesome player. But it seems age hasn't been as kind to him as it has been to his former teammate, Sakic. While I agree that Sundin in the past had the ability to perhaps win the Ross, I would say that nowadays he's clearly past his prime, and I'm not sure he has the ability to compete with the top point-getters in the league any longer.

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01-10-2004, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizral
Sundin has the talent, but no longer the capability. He is slowing down, last season was a good indication of that. Don't get me wrong, Sundin is still an awesome, awesome player. But it seems age hasn't been as kind to him as it has been to his former teammate, Sakic. While I agree that Sundin in the past had the ability to perhaps win the Ross, I would say that nowadays he's clearly past his prime, and I'm not sure he has the ability to compete with the top point-getters in the league any longer.
I'll ask the obligatory question; "Have you even watched the Leaf's play?".

I'll await the obligatory response: "Hey buddy, we get Hockey Night in Toronto shoved down our throats - I see plenty of Toronto."

Sundin is FIVE points behind your mighty Naslund. FIVE. Sundin started the season horribly (and *coincidentally* so did the Toronto Maple Leafs). He didn't record a point in his first 7-8 games. Since then, Sundin has absolutely been flying.

I have no idea HOW you can say that Sundin is CLEARLY past his prime, when he is having one of the better seasons in the entire NHL.

I have no idea HOW you can say that Sundin is CLEARLY past his prime when he leads the entire league in third period points.

I have no idea HOW you can say that Sundin is CLEARLY past his prime when he leads the league in game winners.

Sundin has carried the team offensively (no suprise to most Leaf fans) inspite of injuries to Mogilny, Antropov, Nolan (on again, off again) and Nieuwendyk (same as Nolan).

You don't think Sundin can compete, that's fine. I personally don't consider him a strong candidate either. However, you are going to have to come up with some valid supporting arguments.

For the record - Sundin is a year older than Naslund

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01-10-2004, 12:57 PM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueAndWhite
And Markus Naslund wasn't even CLOSE to a point per game player for nearly NINE NHL seasons. He's certainly blossomed in his last three seasons - recording above a point per game in each of those seasons.

However, to say that Sundin isn't capable is just wrong. Even with Naslund's sudden "dominance" he only has ONE season where his point per game total has been higher than Sundin (that would be last year with 104 pts in 82 games.). In fact, I did NOT include one of Sundin's early seasons with Quebec (114 pts in 82 games) due to the fact that it wouldn't be fair to compare offensive stats nearly a decade apart.

Toronto fans have always stated one of two things when arguing Sundin's talent and value. 1.) The lack of a supporting cast 2.) Ice-time.

For most of Sundin's tenure in Toronto, he hasn't recieved as much ice-time as he deserves (i.e. close to 21 minutes) or when he has, he has been surrounded by a pitiful cast. In fact, over the past 6 seasons, Sundin has been below 20 minutes all but once.

Sundin is a guy that thrives on more minutes. With the additions of Nieuwendyk and Nolan AND playing 20+ minutes a game; Sundin is producing like Toronto fans know he can.

Edit: I guess I forgot to add this bit of vital information to my post. I don't particulary see Sundin challenging (esp being a top 2-3 contender) for the Art Ross this year. However, I do think he has the talent and the capability and it is NOT something that is beyond his scope.
I also think that Sundin is a good player, and should be around 85-90 pts this season, and certainly has a lot of offense left...

but your argument is so clearly one-sided here... mentioning Naslund not being productive for the first 9 seasons, and only doing so in the past 3... while then saying that Sundin doesn't get icetime and doesn't have top linemates...

well for the record, Naslund gets less icetime per game among forwards than Bertuzzi and Morrison do... it was 2 seasons ago that Bertuzzi broke out, and Naslund was the main reason why as well.

IMO Naslund is just the better bet for offensive production at this stage in both their careers... Sundin has had an awesome first half... much better than has been expected by most hockey followers... Naslund - he's had about an average 1st half - average to what was expected of him... he's scoring, racking up points - but all that at the pace he's at is just expected.

and all this, while Bertuzzi and Morrison have been struggling offensively for the most part... there is a very good chance that both those two pick up their offensive games, and with that, I'd bet that Naslund's production as well increases in the 2nd half.

Sundin may be 5 points behind now - but that's with playing awesome, and better than expected, compared to a guy that's simply putting up his expected numbers, while playing with linemates that will in all likelihood pick it up in the 2nd half offensively.

don't get me wrong... I'm not suggesting that Sundin isn't a good player, or even saying he's not a better player overall than Naslund (he clearly brings some intangibles, especially in the veteran experience area that Naslund doesn't)... but comparing their offensive games exclusively, and nothing else, Naslund is the higher rated player here.

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Old
01-10-2004, 01:15 PM
  #18
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Sundin was complete ****e for the first part of the season. He was hot when the Leafs were hot, and has now cooled off.

The Art Ross winner isnt decided until the last month anyways, which is what happened last year with Naslund being the clear favourite for the whole year until Foresberg got hot for the last stretch.

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01-10-2004, 01:37 PM
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rye&ginger
Sundin was complete ****e for the first part of the season. He was hot when the Leafs were hot, and has now cooled off.
Both Sundin and the Leafs struggled until they got some chemistry going, after which he has basically been consitently hot.

'has now cooled off'... Do you expect him to put up something like 8 points per game? He has 5 in his last 3...

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