Who's the greatest goal-scorer of all time?
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Today's edition of The Buzzer was written by Jesse Campigotto.
OK, here's what you need to know right now from the world of sports, plus a (hot? you decide) hockey take:
Alex Ovechkin pushed me down a rabbit hole
Last night, the Washington Capitals sniper (and keg-stand enthusiast) pulled even with Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla for 15th on the NHL's career goals list with 625. Those are two all-time greats, so it got me thinking about the best goal scorers in the history of hockey. And that sent me down an internet rabbit hole. Here are my favourite takeaways:
1. Ovechkin is the greatest goal-scorer of all time. Let's just do this right now. Ovechkin has scored 0.609 goals per regular-season game — a slightly better rate than all-time goals king Wayne Gretzky. Yes, Gretzky's ratio is dragged down by the last few years of his career, when his skills had diminished. That happens to everybody. It'll happen to Ovechkin. But Gretzky also played during a much higher-scoring era. When 99 potted a record 92 goals in 1981-82, the average NHL game had eight goals. When Ovechkin scored a career-high 65 in 2007-08, that number had fallen to about 5.5. Ovechkin will probably never catch Gretzky's 894 goals, but part of the reason is that it's much harder to score now.
2. And he isn't going to stop. All of the dozen-plus guys ahead of Ovechkin have scored their last NHL goal. He's still going strong. That's why you have to look at goals per game. And only three guys in the modern era with at least 200 goals have scored at a higher clip than Ovechkin: Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux and Pavel Bure. So why aren't they better than Ovi? Here's a cute way to say it: sure, they were all star shooters, but they were also shooting stars (too cute?).
Relatively speaking, we barely saw them. Injuries shortened all their careers.
Bossy, who played in that high-scoring Gretzky era, finished with 52 fewer goals than Ovechkin already has. Bure gets credit for his tougher environment but he's 188 goals (and counting) short of Ovi. Lemieux's total of 690 goals will almost certainly be passed by Ovechkin — maybe as soon as next season.
3. Ovechkin is possibly a robot. A really fun robot. Sure, it seems unfair to dock the other guys for their health problems. But on the flip side, Ovechkin's machine-like durability is one of his great skills. He's played in an incredible 97 per cent of his team's regular-season games since he arrived in the NHL. That should count.
4. Pavel Bure is so underrated. No one who saw the Russian Rocket play will ever forget him (every single person who played hockey at the time attempted his stick-skate-stick breakaway move the first time they stepped on the ice after they saw it).
But Bure just isn't talked about the way these other guys are. That's not right. His crowning achievement is probably his back-to-back 60-goal seasons with Vancouver in the early '90s, but my favourite Bure statistical season is still 1999-2000, when he scored 58 for Florida in the teeth of the Dead Puck Era. No one else had more than 44 that season.
Our biggest sports rivalries are a joke compared to Argentina's. Leafs-Habs? Ha. Yankees-Sox? Please. Lakers-Celtics? Stop it. When those teams play, feelings get hurt. When Boca Juniors and River Plate play, actual people can get hurt. The two most popular teams in Argentina are, for the first time ever, meeting in the final of the Copa Libertadores. That's South America's top club soccer tournament (basically its version of Europe's famous UEFA Champions League). The first leg of the contest ended in a 2-2 draw, but the deciding leg is now on hold until Dec. 8 or 9 because fan violence forced organizers to move it out of Argentina. Some Boca players need that time to recover from the injuries they suffered when their bus was attacked on the way to Saturday's game at River Plate's stadium. River fans threw rocks and wood at the bus, breaking windows, and police used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse them.
A German man got 14 years in prison for trying to blow up a top pro soccer team. He was found guilty of 28 counts of attempted murder for attacking Borussia Dortmund's team bus with three bombs as it made its way to a Champions League game in 2017. Only Dortmund defender Marc Bartra (he broke his wrist) and a police officer were injured in the explosions. The guy claimed he only meant to fake an attack and that he designed the bombs so they couldn't really hurt anyone. But prosecutors didn't buy that and they also said it was a money-making scheme — they allege he took out a loan to place a bet on Dortmund's stock dropping.
The Habs are getting a key player back, and not a moment too soon. Defenceman Shea Weber is expected to play tonight for the first time in nearly a year. He's been out with knee and foot injuries that both required surgery. Good timing, too — Montreal has lost four in a row. Still, the Habs have been surprisingly non-terrible this season. The internet loves to rag on GM Marc Bergevin (that'll happen when you do stuff like trade P.K. Subban for the aging Weber) but his trade for Max Domi (26 points in 24 games) has worked out great and the Habs are currently holding down a wild-card spot.
The CFL doesn't want any more slip-ups. Slick field conditions during the Grey Cup were an embarrassment for the league, which says it'll talk to turf manufacturers and stadium staff about how to prevent it from happening again. The CFL blamed fluctuating temperatures in Edmonton leading up to the game for causing an icy field.
A Canadian soccer team is surprising everyone. The women's under-17 national team is only one win away from reaching the championship game at its World Cup in Uruguay. Canada plays Mexico tomorrow, and the winner faces whoever emerges from the other semifinal between Spain and New Zealand. Canada is already playing with house money — the country has never finished higher than seventh in the tournament, and the only Canadian team to do better in a FIFA world championship was the 2002 U-19 Women's World Championship side. The great Christine Sinclair led them to a runner-up finish.
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