October 01, 2008

Mr. October

When you are known as Mr. October in baseball it is a very good thing. In hockey, not so much.

October is when baseball playoffs are on and World Series glory is up for grabs. Clutch players, the absolute best of the best, rise to the top, no one more famously than the Yankees' Reggie Jackson.

In hockey, October marks the beginning of the season. Hockey's Mr. October award goes to players who tend to start the season really strong, but then fade as the season progresses and all but have disappeared by the time the playoffs start.

In recent memory, no one has done that more famously than Brian Savage.

Savage was a notoriously quick starter, often flirting with the league goal scoring leaders at Halloween. Yet he would fade quickly, never once scoring more than 26 goals by season's end, and vanishing in the playoffs where he only scored 3 times in 39 career games.

Here's the statistical evidence:

As you can see, the bulk of his offensive contributions came early, in October and November. He would then fade noticeably.

And he did this seemingly annually. I'm not sure who it must have been more frustrating for - his coaches or hockey poolers. Either way, to see him flirt with early greatness yet never breakthrough was disappointing.

Who will be 2008's Mr. October? Here's the top 10 October scorers since the lockout:

1 comment:

Bob Roberts said...

I find it very interesting that Savage's January totals rival Oct/Nov.

What could be the reason for this?

Was it a mental thing -- start the season fresh/start fresh after the Christmas break?

Or the New Year/new leaf thing?

Or a physical thing -- physically fresh and ready to go in Oct/Nov and rested after the Christmas break -- a "home-cooking" sort of thing?

Clearly from a statistical point of view the anomaly of the January stats can't be ignored, but the reason(s) that might be behind it are intriguing.

Any chance of interviewing him, Joe?