Monday, October 08, 2007

Very Early MVP

The season is still very young and it is still likely too early to gage any meaningful trends, nevertheless I will pick the MVP of the very early season. It is Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche who has 8 points in only 3 games. While I doubt this kind of an amazing scoring rate will continue all season, it is clear that Paul Stastny is establishing himself as a dominant NHL player. I picked him as the 50th best player in the NHL this summer. This is a pick which is already starting to look too low. Nevertheless, when this story was picked up by Fox Sports, the inclusion of Paul Stastny on my list was one of the more highly criticized points. For example one commenter wrote:

Okay, I understand you cant have everyone on this list but how can you logically explain to us that you think Stastny who you said "COULD have a break out year" is better than Vanek who HAD this break out year in his 2nd year?

Maybe its unfair to debate on this blog with people who comment on Fox Sports (as the readers of this blog are in general more knowledgeable hockey fans - you would have to be to bother to find such an alternative source for hockey information), but I think it shows a common problem among fans. With the unbalanced schedule, Paul Stastny probably has never been to the east coast city (which I assume to be Buffalo based on the number of current/former Sabres he campaigns for - some of which is deleted because it's not relevant to this post). Colorado missed the playoffs last year, so it is quite likely the commenter in question has never ever seen Paul Stastny play. He does notice that I say he "could make a big leap forward this season". His guy is already good (as is Stastny - who is even better) but he is unfamiliar with Stastny and assumes that since his guy is good and it might be that Stastny made my list because I project him to become good then he thinks he has a point to debate. The real problem is that in an NHL as large as it is, where some teams rarely visit other teams, a fan of one team could very easily be unaware of a very good player from the other conference (such as Paul Stastny) and that is a real shame. Fans should get to see all the stars.

Truth on brutha. Balance the schedule, NHL. A touch of realignment wouldn't hurt either.
Agreed. I know the travel is tough, but two games with the guys from the other conference would be welcome. (And you can always cut four or six games from the schedule to help with the travel, or send teams on a full trip to the coasts to keep down costs.)

Recently I was watching a rebroadcast of Game 4 of the '83 finals. The Oilers and Isles played THREE times in that regular season, according to Jiggs McDonald. Even with more teams now, it can be done.
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