What is the difference between a "cheap shot artist" and a player with intensity? By all appearances that difference is about 40 goals per year. As outrage continues to pour from the Alex Ovechkin suspension, I keep hearing from caps fans as well as those that do not count themselves as either caps fans or AO fans that he plays with high level of intensity. There is no deputing this. The guys flies around the ice like an angry tazmanian devil, playing a throw back style of hockey that some wish would just go away.
However, you can play an intense and physical game while still playing disciplined. Perfect examples of this are Ryan Malone currently 113th in the nhl in total pims with 58, Brooks Orpik is 111th with 60 pims, and Rick Nash is 148th in the league with 52 pims. All of the previously mentioned guys play the game with controlled aggression, all are key contributors to their respective teams, and all have for the most part kept their noses clean in the past year or so.
Mike Richards is another great example of a "hard nosed guy who plays with intensity". Here is a guy who is difficult on a good day to contain, he is a phenomenal talent who does not shy away from the physical aspect of the game. This is also a guy who earlier in the season some feel took a run at Marc-Andre Fluery, as well as David Booth. With 26g and 20a, he is the second leading points getter on the flyers right behind Jeff Carter. He’s also 5th on the team in penalty minutes with 73 (19 minors, 5 major, 1 game misconduct). So whats the difference between Mike Richards and Matt Cooke? Right now about 30 points and 18 pims. Coincidently, Richards has 1 more major penalty (5) to Cooke (4). Odd isn’t it.
Now enter Alex Ovechkin again. Some would say that he is the best forward in the game today. Working on another 50+goal season its hard to argue against his talent. So whats the difference between Alex and Matt Cooke? 70 points and 7 PIM’s.
Matt Cookes penalty stat line:
28 minors, 4 majors, and one misconduct.
AO’s penalty stat line:
18 minors, 3 majors, 0 misconducts, 3 game misconducts,
It looks to me that the difference between a dirty player and an intense player is a good pr rep, some skill to get the puck in the net more, and some ice time. Course the trophies don’t hurt that either. This post was not intended to burn or flame the flyers and their fans, or the caps and their fans, only to bring to light the simple fact that the only difference between their "studs" and a dirty player is the NHL’s pr machine which quite frankly is sorely lacking….
One of these days the nhl disciplinary guru Mr. Campbell will get it through his head that his method of discipline (which is similar to the consistency of speech patters that a stuttering narcoleptic could or may have) isn’t working. AO’s suspension chatter I will leave up to you guys. I thought Richards should have been suspended, I thought cooke should have been suspended, and my feeling are no differe