Thursday, January 31, 2008

January's Top Scorer

At the beginning of the season, it is easy to tell who the hottest scorers in the NHL are. They are the players at the top of the NHL scoring leaders. However, as the season progresses, it is no longer as easy to identify the hottest scorers in the league. For example, in the month of January, the top scorer in the NHL has been Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes. Doan scored 19 points this month to lead the league. This fact is one that is never discovered by most fans of the league. Only a few of the most astute poolies have noticed.

Had Doan led the league in scoring in October, everyone would have noticed. There would be some consideration of Doan as one of the better players in the league and the expectation that he should appear in the All Star Game. There would be fans wondering if his omission from The Hockey News Top 50 players list was justified. There would be some expectation that this might be the season where Doan winds up among the NHL's top scorers.

That is not the case when it happens in January. Sure people recognize Doan as a good player. After all, his 48 points leads the Phoenix Coyotes and he has had All Star Game and Olympic Team spots in the past, but the hyperbole of leading the NHL in scoring for a month is gone when that month is January and not earlier in the season.

Shane Doan is the highest scorer in the NHL in the month of January and that accomplishment deserves some notice. Most hockey fans will not notice it.

NOTE: I wrote this before the start of the January 31st games. And after they are over, it turns out that Shane doan did not lead the NHL in scoring in January (though he led Jan 1st-30th). Alexander Ovechkin led the NHL in scoring including the last day of the month. JP Dumont finished 2nd. This leaves Doan in 3rd. Still an oustanding month. Dumont is another guy that has had recent successes that most fans didn't notice.

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