Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Crosby & Gretzky

Today is a perfect time to further compare the current exploits of Sidney Crosby to the greatness of, not that Gretzky above, the mullet-laden one below (I'll take any chance I can to put a picture of Paulina on the Den).
Anyway rather than look at the streaks of each, I wanted to further examine just the raw season stats.
Sid has now played 38 games and tallied 32 goals and 33 assists. In 1981/82, after Wayner had played 38 games he had 45 goals and 57 assists. Of course, the next game he went out and ventilated Pete Peeters and the Flyers for 5 goals and a helper. At first glance it's obvious that Gretz's 102 points in 38 games blows Sid's 65 out of the water. I am here however to provide more than a "first glance", that's where the calculator comes in.
We all know that a straight-up comparison of different eras doesn't give a clear picture, especially the free-wheeling early '80s versus today's game. Over the entire 1981/82 season each and every game produced an average of 8.03 goals per match, today the average is 5.61/game. If we want to look at the numbers they have to be put on a level field.
Scoring today is almost exactly 70% than that of 1981/82's rate. If Gretzky's first half of that season is equated into today's rate of scoring it translates into 31 goals, 40 assists for 71 points in 38 games. Gretz still leads Sid by six points, but Sid actually is scoring at a comparitively better rate. I distinctly remember following as a kid the progress of Gretzky's run to 50 in 39, (I still have the scrapbook of newspaper clippings I kept) so to watch Crosby collect goals and points as he is now is that much more impressive and fascinating to me.
One other weird thing about Crosby's last calendar year is the amazing increase in his goals/game average. Over the first 330 games of his career (up until Jan 1, 2010) his goal rate was 0.470/GP and assist rate was 0.879/GP. Since the beginning of 2010, he has now played 78 games and tallied 60 goals, 66 assists and 126 points. His assist rate is pretty much the same at 0.846/GP but his goals have increase almost by almost two-thirds to 0.769/GP. This is no small sample size either. How does a guy who was already a superstar increase his goal scoring by that much? Was it the Olympic spotlight that spawned the goal scoring spurt, or is it the HBO camera's following him around for the last few months? Whatever it is, it is ridiculously impressive.


Kunz Family said...

My 7 yr old (and me) wanna know why the goals per game have gone down over the years.

PS Crosby is not making it easy to keep my boy as a Leaf fan!!!

JerkyJames said...

Can you imagine Crosby facing goalies decked in '80's era equipment?? And my Gawd I had no idea Gretzky's daughter was so gorgeous! I should have known....

Nitzy said...

Many reasons contributed to the drop in scoring rates. Goalie equipment, athleticism and styles(the butterfly) are all huge factors. Also, due to over-expansion and dilution of the talent pool, defense heavy systems such as "the trap" or "left wing lock" became popular.

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