Sakic signs for another year with the Avalanche, but does anyone really care?

So, if you haven’t already heard, Joe Sakic will be sticking around in the NHL for yet another season, but with all the young guys running the show in the “New NHL,” does anyone outside of Denver really care?It was posted on the Colorado Avalanche website on Wednesday (8/27/2008) that Joe Sakic has just agreed to a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche in order to extend his career to a 20th season. There was a time when news like this would have excited the hockey world and got fans everywhere pumped for the new NHL season to start. Five years ago, the seasoned veterans were what sold tickets and got asses in the seats, but now I feel the NHL has been transformed into something different. And I’m not going to lie, I kind of like it.

Since the NHL came back from the strike, they truly have changed the NHL into a more fast-paced game that makes the players with the sick moves stand out from the rest. I no longer pay $100/season for my NHL cable package in order to watch legends like Joe Sakic struggle to keep up. I tune into see a new breed of players, the young guys.

It’s so amazing to see the young players of the NHL like Sydney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin stealing the show from Day 1 of their careers. It used to be that the young players would come into the NHL, struggle as they tried to hold on to their spots, and look to the veterans for guidance. Well now players come in and right away they’re so exciting to watch.

Take Alexander Ovechkin for example. On NHL.com you can watch old, archived highlights from previous seasons. You can take any player and watch every single goal they scored for that particular season. Start with Ovechkin’s first ever NHL goal a few years ago and just start going down the list. It’s so crazy. Half of the goals he scores are highlight real goals!

Now, I realize Alexander Ovechkin is an extreme situation, but there are so many other young players that are coming in and adding so much excitement to the game. Now I find myself hearing about a new rookie and tuning into his team’s games and looking him up on YouTube.

We still have veterans scoring a lot of points and that’s great; but the younger guys really are bringing in this new breed of hockey. It’s not necessarily the guy with the most points that are drawing all the attention. It’s the guys that make the sickest plays. Even if a guy doesn’t get a lot of points, if he makes one awesome play, it’s all over YouTube. By the next week, we’re all searching for his clips and tuning into his games to see more. And it’s usually the younger guys that this happens for.

Just look at the top point scorers from last season (2007-2008).

Player Age
Alexander Ovechkin 22
Evgeni Malkin 22
Jarome Iginla 31
Pavel Datsyuk 30
Joe Thornton 29
Henrik Zetterberg 27
Vincent Lecavalier 28
Jason Spezza 25
Daniel Alfredsson 35
Ilya Kovalchuk 25

Everyone on that list is just amazing, but it seems the most searched for names on that list are the guys that are 25 or younger. Iginla has been around a while and is always one of the point leaders, but how often do you hear his name? He gets points but they just aren’t really YouTube worthy. However, I will admit that I’ve typed Zetterberg and Datsyuk into YouTube tons of time cause they are wracking up sick goals together, and thus they completely wreck my theory, but I’m going to stick with it anyway!

What’s crazy, too, is that the two leading point scorers, Ovechkin and Malkin, were only 22. And let’s not forget that Sydney Crosby probably would have been there, too, if he hadn’t have been injured. That would put the top three scorers 22 or under. Wow.

Welcome to the new NHL. I can’t wait for 2008-2009.