I came across a very interesting post on the THN.com blog that covers what I was discussing a few posts ago regarding the fact that Ovechkin seems to be playing a more physical game and headhunting elite Russian players on the ice. It starts out by saying that Ovechkin isn't playing his caliber of hockey thus far this season (he's not the best player in the league or even on his team). And although it doesn't specificially point out the Malkin incidents when they lost to the Capitals on October 16th, it does point out the fact that Ovechkin is more concerned with making a big hit now more so than in previous years. THN's Ken Campbell makes the following observation:
Here’s a thought. Ovechkin is undoubtedly the most physical elite player in the NHL. Perhaps he is too focused on playing a rugged game and is looking for the big hit too much. With 22 hits in seven games thus far, Ovechkin is on pace for 258, which would be the fourth-highest total among forwards since the NHL began
tracking hit totals.
This may explain why my results turned out the way they did (totally opposite than what we all were expecting). Last year's stats aren't going to consider the fact that Ovechkin may be playing a totally different game this season. So Rage from NC may not be far off on his assessment of Ovechkin looking to make a run at elite Russian players in the NHL.
The bad part is that it's to early in the season to work with the stats; we need a few more months to really come up with a clear picture of whether or not the assessment is correct, but it should be interesting -- stay tuned!!