One of the reasons Ovy’s goal totals have diminshed – and don’t kid yourself, it’s a legit reason – is that people have better learned to defend his tendencies. If a guy can’t dribble with his left hand, you drive him to the left. Just getting in that shooting lane when you’re in d-zone coverage, and getting stick-on-stick on his rushes led to some of his frustration in the NHL – when he went to the well again in the K, he scored more.
That’s a long lead-in to the question…could this happen to Steven Stamkos soon? Or rather, shouldn’t it? Goalies should be more aware of his presence during powerplays, and make a conscious effort to get over quicker on his shots at this point. Forwards should better take away that passing lane. D-men should better stay in that shooting lane.
Coaches know this stuff, and I think the defending Rocket Richard winner could possibly have a tougher time scoring in the next year or two.
Stamkos can score in a variety ways – I’d argue more than Ovechkin – but I’m curious to see how he adjusts not if, but when teams start to better defend his Thor’s Hammer of a one-timer, because that day is coming, and it’s coming soon.
Good goal-scorers have the skills to put pucks in the net. Great ones, like Mike Bossy for example, are able to find new ways to score when the old ways are better defended. I think this season will tell us a lot about which category Stamkos ends up in.
Update: Read the rest of this entry »