“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

March 23, 2007

The Scoring Race

Sidney Crosby is a badass, no doubt, but his season-long stranglehold on the top spot in league scoring is starting to loosen. After another three-assist night, this time against a sad version of the Atlanta Thrashers, Joe Thornton is now just six points behind The Kid. If you remember last season, Thornton did the same thing to Jaromir Jagr, trailing for most of the year until the final month when he caught and surpassed the Czech, eventually winning the Hart Trophy to boot.

This year could be the same.

I submit to you the scoring trends of the current top five points leaders in the NHL, in graphical form:

Notice how Thornton has trailed the other four for most of the season, until the last few games, where his total has spiked. In the past nine games, Thornton has scored 20 points, including 14 assists. With the exception of Crosby, there is no question that Joe Thornton is the best playmaker in the NHL. Nobody passes the biscuit like he does. And former nobody Jonathan Cheechoo now has his second consecutive 30+ goal season because of him.

With just a few games left and Crosby becoming a bit stagnant, we could see another Art Ross upset.

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