Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: sidney crosby
NEW YORK (April 10, 2017) – The 2016-17 National Hockey League regular season concluded on Sunday with Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid capturing his first career Art Ross Trophy as the League’s scoring champion, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby claiming his second career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader and Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals winning his first career William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender who plays at least 25 games for the club allowing the fewest goals.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- Imagine if the opposite had occurred?
Imagine if it had been Sidney Crosby’s finger dangling, dripping blood, part of it crushed, the result of a slash, intentional or not?
Imagine the noise the hockey world would make?
Instead, the usual voices say the usual things. You can’t penalize the kind of slash that happens so often in every game. You can’t suspend Crosby for maiming Ottawa’s Marc Methot and ending his regular season — and possibly his playoff run — while probably damaging his hand forever.
That’s their view. The NHL shrugs and looks the other way. The game goes on.
That’s their view, not mine....
- What you need to remember about Eugene Melnyk: When last we saw his Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup final, there was Melnyk in the dressing room after losing the Cup, calling out players, questioning their character and basically embarrassing himself.
- Really, Gary Bettman cares nothing about you. He took away a hockey season. If he thinks it’s good business to not have NHL players in the Olympic Games, he won’t lose a minute of sleep over it. That said, Bettman hasn’t officially ruled out NHL participation in the Olympics, which makes it still possible.
more on Crosby and other hockey notes too...
Melnyk says he is sure the Methot issue is being taken up with the league this AM on TSN 1200
"You hammer these guys, you take away their money, and you say you know what you are done for 10 games," says Melnyk on incidents.
Melnyk doesn't name Crosby but "we all know who he is. The guy is a whiner beyond belief." Says no matter who it is he should be suspended
Missed the incident last night? Watch here.
Rasmus Ristolainen five for interference and a game.
Below, Sidney Crosby with a sneaky stick to the groin...
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in a shootout last night, and the game came down to a pair of shootout goals traded by Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid--and a winner potted by Phil Kessel:
According to Sportsnet's Mark Spector, the Crosby-vs-McDavid game lived up to its massive hype:
NHL.com's Tim Campbell reports that tonight's marquee match-up involves Sidney Crosby battling Connor McDavid:
The NHL scoring race will be a certain headline when two of the League's marquee centers, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, play against each other at Rogers Place on Friday (9 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SNW, ROOT, NHL.TV).
McDavid leads the NHL with 74 points (22 goals, 52 assists). Crosby is tied for second with 70 points (League-leading 34 goals, 36 assists).
The game also creates a focus on what's to come.
Crosby, 29, is looking to add to an impressive resume that includes 137 points in 124 Stanley Cup Playoff games and two Cup wins. The defending champion Penguins are tied for second with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Division with 90 points.
The Oilers have 78 points, two behind the Anaheim Ducks for second in the Pacific Division, and are on course to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
TSN's Scott Cullen issues "Three Quarter NHL Awards," and his Hart Trophy pick is...intiguging...
Winner: Brent Burns, D, San Jose
Runners-Up: Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh; Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton
This is a difficult decision. Crosby has been my pick through the first two installments, but as his goal-scoring pace has slowed, it gets more reasonable to consider Burns, a defenceman who is leading the league in shots on goal and has more than a point per game. Furthermore, Burns is on pace for 34 goals, and the last time a defenceman scored that many goals, had better than a point per game and four shots on goal per game was Doug Wilson in 1981-1982 (The only other defenceman to meet those thresholds in a season was some guy by the name of Orr, three times).
This isn’t to take away from Crosby, who is having a great season, and McDavid, who is leading the league in scoring in his second season, but Burns’ season is extraordinary, and we’re far enough down the road that I’ve shifted into Burns’ corner, though it’s admittedly a close race.
Some others to consider: Chicago right winger Patrick Kane, who is suddenly second in the league with 70 points, is probably the best candidate outside the top three. Evgeni Malkin, Nikita Kucherov and Jeff Carter have all been really good, too, but not quite at the same level.
From USA Today's Kevin Allen:
The most impressive aspect of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby approaching 1,000 career points is that we may not have seen his best work.
Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford said he believes Crosby, with 998 points in 753 games going into Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche, is still finding ways to refine his game.
“I don’t know if there is any other athlete in the world who is more prepared to be successful,” Rutherford said. “It started at a young age, and it has never dropped off. And it never will.”
At 29 years, 185 days through Wednesday, Crosby is in position to become the 12th youngest to reach 1,000 points. He would also rank 12th fastest with 753 games entering Thursday's meeting.
Nobody has done it faster since Jaromir Jagr reached 1,000 points in 2000, not long before Jagr’s 29th birthday.
“(Crosby's) at a level all by himself right now,” Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Can he take it to another level? I wouldn’t put it past him.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Tis the season, all right; the season of Sidney Crosby, who not only is dominating the NHL, but is doing so while re-ascending to hockey’s pedestal, a feat far more difficult than mounting it in the first place.
Few players have been knocked off the top rung the way Crosby had only to re-emerge as master of his domain. And this season, in which he had recorded 26 goals in 31 games entering Saturday after having been named MVP of both the 2016 Stanley Cup and World Cup, is one for the comparative ages.
This is Crosby’s 12th year. Gordie Howe, who had some staying power, won the 1957-58 Hart Trophy in his 12th season with Detroit. Bobby Hull had a statistical career year in his 12th season with Chicago, recording NHL career bests 58 goals, 49 assists and 107 points. Mario Lemieux had a 122-point season in 1996-97 and Wayne Gretzky led the NHL with 163 points and 122 assists in his 12th season, and third with LA, in 1990-91. Rocket Richard probably would have won the only Art Ross of his career in his 12th season if he hadn’t been suspended at the end of 1954-55 by NHL President Clarence Campbell for his stick-swinging rampage that presaged the Richard Riots in Montreal.
more on Crosby plue a few more topics...
The first period is over and Crosby has not returned.
via the YouTube channel of Sportsnet,
For the 39th time in their careers, heavyweights Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will face off as the Pens take on the Capitals on Wednesday Night Hockey.
And the Penguins with a reminder...
From NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika:
The way he plays, the way he handles himself, the way he elevates the Edmonton Oilers, it's easy to forget that Connor McDavid is 19 years old. He has played 58 NHL games, because he missed three months because of a broken clavicle as a rookie last season. As good as he is, one of the top players in the NHL already, he's still experiencing new things, still learning, still growing.
McDavid will play against Sidney Crosby for the first time when the Oilers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ROOT, SNW, NHL.TV). It's No. 97 vs. No. 87, the Next One vs. Sid the Kid, the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft vs. the No. 1 pick of the 2005 NHL Draft. And McDavid talks about it like, well, a teenager. He doesn't call him Mr. Crosby, like he did the first time he met him three years ago, according to USA Today, but makes him sound like an old man at age 29.
"It's exciting for me," McDavid said. "He's someone I grew up idolizing, and for me it's going to be pretty cool."
McDavid said he continues to follow Crosby most nights he plays.
"He's the best player in the world, and if you can take anything from his game, obviously that'll help," McDavid said. "Definitely don't pattern yourself after him or anything like that, but you try and learn from things that gave him success."
added 4:28 PM: Here's the other side, from NHL.com's Wes Crosby:
From TSN's Frank Seravalli:
The hockey world’s eyes will be focused on Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, watching intently as Connor McDavid faces off against Sidney Crosby for the first time.
The matchup will be billed as the second coming of Gretzky versus Lemieux - and the parallels are certainly there, both with the teams represented and the fact that perhaps the game’s best two players will compete on the same ice.
The pure skill and skating from Crosby and McDavid is easy enough to see. But what may be under appreciated is how McDavid and Crosby generate the speed that clearly sets them apart from the rest of the NHL.
McDavid, now 19, has been compared to Crosby in just about every way imaginable: hockey sense and timing, hand-eye coordination, playmaking ability, and even his deferential off-ice demeanor.
In a league full of elite skaters, though, McDavid is maybe the best since Crosby.
How do McDavid and Crosby literally break away from the pack?
According to Crosby’s skills coach, Darryl Belfry, it is with the use of linear crossovers.
from Wes Crosby at NHL.com,
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be a game-time decision and may make his season debut against the Florida Panthers at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ROOT, FS-F, NHL.TV).
Crosby participated in a full-contact practice Monday for the first time since sustaining a concussion during an Oct. 7 practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. The concussion, Crosby's third in six years, forced him to miss Pittsburgh's first six games.
"[Crosby] had a strong practice this morning," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said after the morning skate Tuesday. "Everything is pointing in the right direction. If he's comfortable, he could play."
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Crosby’s latest concussion happened on Friday at practice. It wasn’t a big open-ice hit — those observers who were there noticed nothing — but of course we realize that it doesn’t have to be a Scott Stevens hit anymore. When two NHL players collide in a battle drill, or even during line rushes, the impact can be enough to bounce one’s brain off the inside of one’s skull.
So we are left to wonder: Did whatever happened to Crosby in that Friday practice have a worse effect because of his concussion history? And will the next one require incrementally less force, and less force, until contact sports are no longer an option for Sid?
Is it possible that Crosby and concussions become in 2016 what Bobby Orr and bad knees were in the 1970s? We surely hope not.
“They happen, in a lot of different sports,” Crosby said Tuesday, having skated alone and shot some pucks before the Penguins practiced as a team. “Guys have multiple concussions and they’re fine. You just have to treat them the right way, and make sure that they handle it right and that you’re honest.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
There are lots of other storylines — P.K. Subban in Nashville, Carey Price’s return, Taylor Hall in Newark — but nothing earthshaking. Indeed, the Subban for Shea Weber off-season deal was enormous, but now the flamboyant Subban will be tucked away in Nashville, rarely to be seen on national broadcasts in either country. Ditto for Hall.
Having all seven Canadian teams miss post-season play last spring delivered a punishing blow to NHL interest in the Great White North as illustrated by television ratings, and right now you’d be hard-pressed to guarantee a playoff berth for any of the seven this season. Certainly none go into the season appearing to be challengers for the Cup.
Six of the seven acquired a top young player in the entry draft last June, which bodes well for the future. Toronto got Auston Matthews, Winnipeg got Patrik Laine, Edmonton took Jesse Puljujarvi, Calgary landed Matthew Tkachuk and Montreal selected Russian blue-liner Mikhail Sergachev, who will start the season with the Habs.
But it will take time for these players to establish themselves and become fan favourites, and all the Canadian teams, to different degrees, are still paying the price for questionable management over the past decade. As an example, look at the Oilers, forced to dump former No. 1 pick Nail Yakupov to the Blues for 20 cents on the dollar last week just to be rid of him.
A healthy Crosby can’t be expected to compensate for all of this, of course. Indeed, last year he started the season in terrible fashion, making “What’s Wrong With Sidney?” a popular game to play at home with friends and loved ones, and the NHL didn’t all come tumbling down.
But the way the season finished re-established him, without a doubt, as the best player on the planet, as did the World Cup. He is in his absolute prime, able to drive attention to the league, not by force of personality but by sheer drive and ability.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion, it was announced by Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Rutherford.
Crosby sat out Saturday's preseason game vs. Columbus because he was not feeling well, and missed practice today to undergo concussion testing.
Crosby's status will be updated when more information is available. The Penguins open the regular season Thursday night against Washington at PPG Paints Arena.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
It is on nights like these, fair or not, that superstar players either add to their mystique or ... the complete opposite.
And on this World Cup of Hockey semifinal night, No. 87 rose above everyone else yet again, while No. 8 struggled mightily.
"It's like the five-tool guy vs. the home-run hitter: The five-tool guy finds more ways to win all the time," said a Western Conference head coach not involved in the tourney, via text message after Canada's 5-3 semifinal win Saturday.
"Full-court player vs. half-court player," added an Eastern Conference GM not involved in the World Cup, via text message during the third period.
World juniors, NHL playoffs, men's world championships, Olympics and now World Cup: Crosby owns Ovechkin by any definition.
No question, if you had Crosby and Ovechkin swap uniforms Saturday night, Ovechkin might have had a better chance of scoring with Team Canada boasting a deeper squad.
from Sidney Crosby at Sports Illustrated,
I can’t say there weren’t some doubts starting to creep in.
When you’re in your late 20s with 10 NHL seasons on your legs, and suddenly you’re not scoring and your team isn’t winning, the little voice inside your head can tell you things you don’t want to hear. That was the voice that started talking to me in December.
And my lack of production on the ice made it feel like the voice had a point.
Almost a quarter of the way through the 2015–16 season, I only had a handful of points and wherever I was on the list of NHL scoring leaders, it wasn’t high. I wasn’t playing up to my expectations, but even worse, my failures meant that the team wasn’t winning. Nothing we did seemed to work. Offensively we struggled and with each frustrating loss, we fell further and further behind the competition.
Forget being in the conversation as Stanley Cup favorites, we weren’t even in position to qualify for the postseason. As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one with doubts, either.
After a day with the Stanley Cup on Friday that included a trip to Tim Hortons, Sidney Crosby enjoyed a hero's welcome at a parade through his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, on Saturday.
An estimated crowd of 30,000 lined the 1.1-mile parade route on Forest Hills Parkway to see the Cup and show support for the Pittsburgh Penguins captain and 2016 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
continued and the story will be updated throughout the day...
Here's Sidney Crosby being awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs:
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
One more win …
Crosby wants it for a number of reasons. For Lemieux. For his teammates. For hockey-mad Pittsburgh. For his family. And, of course, for himself.
Crosby knows exactly what a second Cup will bring.
It will mean matching the great Lemieux’s total as a player.
It will mean never being called an underachiever again.
Maybe most of all, it will mean never having to say he’s sorry.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
The voice was familiar - loud enough to overcome the nervous buzz of 18,534 nail-biting souls, but not startling.
Bryan Rust hopped over the boards and jetted across the blue line with a perfectly placed Brian Dumoulin pass when he heard it.
“I didn’t think ‘Rusty’ saw me,” Sidney Crosby said. “I just kind of let him know I was there.”
No thought required. It was the easiest, if not the biggest, assist of Rust’s career.
The puck slid to Crosby on the freshly shaved overtime ice smoother than a new stick of deodorant.
“When one of the best players in the world is wide open,” Rust explained, “you definitely look for him.”
Crosby dropped to one knee to put the maximum amount of muscle on the disc, which was still bouncing after it dropped from the shelf behind Andrei Vasilevskiy. Neither Vasilevskiy, nor a frozen Victor Hedman had a prayer to stop it.
In a highlight-reel lens, it was a vintage Crosby image.
Watch the goal below...
Penguins win 3-2, on to Tampa for game 3 on Wednesday.
It is a testament to the greatness of Ovechkin and to the greatness of his rival with the Penguins, Crosby, that we can debate the notion of legacy in these rare head-to-head confrontations.
And even though the scorecard historically has been dominated by Crosby, what makes Saturday so compelling is that Ovechkin has it within his grasp to draft a new script, to defy the past.
Just as he has had those opportunities in the past but could not change the narrative.
-Scott Burnside of ESPN where you can read more on Crosby/Ovechkin.
Sidney Crosby took s nasty slash to the right hand from Alexander Ovechkin and angrily exited the Capials-Penguins game. Crosby would return:
from Michael Traikos at the Toronto Sun,
After a slow start, where Crosby managed five points in October, had a minus-11 rating in November and even had some questioning whether he belonged on Canada’s World Cup roster, the two-time league MVP has returned to his old self.
On Monday morning, Crosby was named the NHL's first star of the week after scoring five goals and eight points in three games. Following Monday night's game, he is now on an 11-game point streak, with 12 goals and 22 points during that stretch. And with 53 points in 51 games, he is once again amongst the top-10 in league scoring.
Simply put: Crosby is back. And the rest of the league is on notice.
“A lot of people will judge him just on his points,” said Rutherford. “But the last month or two, I really think he’s been the best complete player in the league, which is not a big statement because he is the best player in the league. He has been the best player for a while and he will be for quite a while going forward.
“He can just put the team on his back and take it.”
This no longer looks like the same team that couldn’t score on the power play, couldn’t string together more than two wins in a row and ended up firing the head coach in early December after stumbling out of the gate with a 15-10-2 record. With Mike Sullivan behind the bench and Crosby leading the offence, the Penguins have two regulation losses in their last 11 games.
via Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“Sid has a lower body injury. Right now his status is day to day. We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” said Sullivan.
He said he believes the injury occurred in the third period of the team’s 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last night.
If Crosby is cleared to play tomorrow there will be no temptation of giving him a week off with the upcoming break.
“I don’t think there’s any temptation. If Sid can play, he’ll play,” said Sullivan. “That’s the type of guy that he is. We’ll make that decision tomorrow. We’ll see how he is.”
from Gare Joyce of Sportsnet,
Even if his drive for excellence remained full bore, you couldn’t blame him if the state of the Penguins organization has dragged him down. He was sighted as an unhappy camper first when he chirped at Dan Bylsma on the bench during the playoffs a couple of years ago, a complete break from his image as the game’s ultimate Boy Scout (or, at least, a title he shared with Jonathan Toews). And since the firing of GM Ray Shero and Bylsma in the wake of the 2014 playoffs, the Pens organization has been one to rouse curiosity more than instill confidence, what with a GM, Jim Rutherford, who effectively signed on as something of a long-term interim, and Mike Johnston, previously the coach of the Portland Winter Hawks, who went straight from riding a bus with teenagers to working with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin et al. Crosby can say the right things about the team and the organization. He might even mean most of them. But somewhere deep down in his sub-conscious he has to question those running the organization.
Look, I’m not here to bury Crosby. I don’t imagine that it’s over for him. Still, it does seem like he’s moving into a different stage of his career. Something like an athlete’s mid-life. Whether this is the proverbial crisis or not is another thing. It might turn out that he wins more Stanley Cups on the back nine than on the front. It might turn out that he can reinvent himself as a player, becoming less spectacular but more effective overall than at his physical peak. That’s exactly the career path of his favourite player growing up, Steve Yzerman. There’s no doubt that Crosby understands the game well enough to find a different game to play. But will he prove too proud to do anything but be carried out on his shield?
From Sportsnet: Brandon Dubinsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets cross-checked Sidney Crosby in the back of the head, and Dubinsky got 2 minutes for cross-checking:
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
For six consecutive years, Sidney Crosby has been ranked the No. 1 NHL player on TSN’s Top 50 list, but the Pittsburgh Penguins star is not even among the NHL’s Top 125 scorers through the first quarter.
Crosby’s sudden plunge in productivity makes him the NHL’s biggest individual disappointment at the quarter pole of the season. The second quarter officially begins Monday night with game No. 308 of 1,230 when Buffalo hosts St. Louis.
Crosby, 28, has been held pointless in 13 of 20 games and is on pace for just 41 points. For perspective: Crosby netted 37 points in just 22 games in 2011-12 while battling post-concussion symptoms. In his last 61 games under Mike Johnston, Crosby has been kept off the scoresheet in nearly half (27) the games.
There has been no shortage of theories on what ails Crosby, ranging from a poor fit with Johnston’s system, to Crosby playing more of a perimeter game, to age suddenly catching up with Crosby’s once tireless legs. There was even a focus on Crosby breaking sticks in key moments of games with open nets – it has been that perplexing.
His struggles may well be a combination of all those distinctions. One fact is undeniable: Crosby does not seem happy.
continued plus more NHL topics...
“He’s got to start dominating the puck. The strength of Sidney Crosby has always been his ability to dominate the puck, and when he dominates the puck, he forces defensemen off the line, he creates time and space for not only himself, but for players that play on his line.”
“Sid’s not dominating the puck like I’m used to seeing him dominate. I go back to watching him when he was 14, 15 years old, so I have a pretty good sample size on the guy. When he dominates the puck, he is as elite a player as there is anywhere in the world. The problem is he’s not dominating the puck right now.”
-Pierre McGuire on Sidney Crosby. More from McGuire at CBSPittsburgh.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
Sidney Crosby does not have a point in eight of nine games this season, the first time that has ever happened at any point in his career - not just to start a campaign. His run with long-awaited supporting cast member Phil Kessel lasted just seven games.
Crosby, 28, has three points this season. They all came against the Panthers on Oct. 20.
So, what’s going on with Crosby?
“He’s got to be a little more selfish,” Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet diagnosed. “The one game when he had three points, he had nine shots. He’s got to attack the net more. I think he’s looking to pass the puck. He’s got to attack the net more. For me, you can’t play a perimeter game in the NHL.”
Under the surface, it seems like Crosby’s struggles aren’t tied to any lack of effort or desire, but rather he's limited in production by what his environment allows. Johnston, now into his second season, is preaching structure - not the freewheeling Penguins that struck the fear of God into opposing defencemen as they wheeled through the neutral zone. These aren’t your father’s Penguins - or your grandfather’s.
They are less creative, more militant. Given the way the Penguins are assembled, spending the second-most money on offence ($50.2 million) this season, it would be akin to taking a Ferrari and driving it like a Model T.
Take the Penguins’ power play for instance. On Wednesday at Verizon Center, this divisional game probably could’ve been won in the first 10 minutes if the Penguins broke through. They had a 5-on-3 advantage for 105 seconds, followed quickly by another 5-on-4 opportunity.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
Ten years ago, the NHL banked on the star power of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin to bring hockey back from the brink of a year-long lockout. Hard to believe it’s been that long.
The hype and the shine have worn off the rivalry, but the debate rages on. And after 10 years, it’s appropriate to once again raise the question: Which player is better?
“Are you kidding me right now?” Ovechkin answered on Wednesday, laughing.
It wasn’t clear whether Ovechkin’s rhetorical answer was a dig at the ridiculously nuanced and polarizing question, or whether that was his way of saying he is the answer.
But for the first time in a long time, Ovechkin can be the answer to that question. Three or four years ago, it was one not even worth asking. Crosby was the clear-cut and runaway winner.
More interesting than any hate that exists between the Penguins and Capitals is the ebb-and-flow of the stock prices of Crosby and Ovechkin on the NHL market since they first clashed on Nov. 22, 2005 at the old Igloo.
The hockey guys at ESPN discuss the slow start by Sidney Crosby, who is without a point through five games.
Pierre LeBrun- Remember last year when people were questioning New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady early in the NFL season? Remember how that turned out? I feel like that's the kind of karma we're toying with here by even pretending to think to something wrong with Crosby.
I will say, though, that Craig Simpson of Hockey Night in Canada made an excellent point Saturday night in saying that it didn't seem like No. 87 was darting through lanes and creases with the speed we're used to seeing. I agree with you guys that a lot of this has to do with Crosby trying to find chemistry with Kessel. Still, I think we're all going to have a good chuckle in April when Crosby wins another scoring title and we remember we actually had this chat.
Among the items that USA Today's Kevin Allen believes are overreactions levied far too early in the 2015-16 NHL season:
Coach Bruce Boudreau is on the hot seat in Anaheim C’mon folks. This is a parity league, and even quality teams struggle on occasion. You wouldn’t even pay attention to their 0-2-1 stretch if this was the middle of January. The Ducks are in a scoring slump, probably caused by players trying to find chemistry with new teammates. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry don’t have a point. Do you think the NHL has magically discovered how to stop that duo after a decade of domination? The Ducks are a contender. They have the necessary ingredients to make it happen. Boudreau will be judged by what happens next spring, not what happens in the first three games of the season.
The 1-3 Penguins are already in a world of hurt Let’s take a step back here and remember that the three teams that have defeated the Penguins are a combined 11-1, including the white-hot Canadiens. We know that Crosby is eventually going to score plenty, and the Pittsburgh power play will likely end up as one of the league’s best. The Penguins have given up an average of two goals per game in the four games. They would be thrilled with that goals-against average for an entire season. This is another team that is trying to figure out how to best use new personnel. It’s too early to assess where the Penguins are going this season.
Connor McDavid has been slow to adjust Now you understand why general manager Peter Chiarelli tried to tamp down the hype over this future superstar. Although McDavid has an overflowing amount of skill, he’s still an 18-year-old trying to find his way against the world’s best players. The lack of points (one goal) is not a shock to the Oilers. They understood that even budding superstars need time to sort out what works and what doesn’t. His point total will grow significantly as he gains experience. Don’t forget that he is not playing with a Stanley Cup contender. He is surrounded by players still exploring their own games. If you have watched McDavid in his first four games, you can see his potential dominance bubbling just below the surface. He always seems like he’s a half-second from a breakaway.
Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports that all is going well for Phil Kessel in Pittsburgh thus far, and Kessel's teammates certainly vouch for the ever-guarded #81:
"He’s pretty funny," said Crosby. "You know what, he’s just comfortable. He seems like he’s been here a lot longer than a month or whatever."
"We have fun with him — that's one part I'm a little bit surprised [about]," said David Perron, who met Kessel for the first time at training camp and now occupies the locker stall beside him.
"You never know what kind of guy you're going to get. He's been awesome, he's been pretty funny. Guys keep him loose."
These are the early days of what should be a long marriage. Kessel is under contract through 2020-21 and carries a cap hit of $6.8-million (the Leafs are covering the other $1.2-million) to go with a limited no-trade clause.
Often a change of scenery has a positive impact on a player, especially one coming from a team that missed the playoffs five of the last six years and is being promised more freedom.
"It's a tough market in Toronto," said Perron. "I think he was loving it there, but maybe it was time to move on. I don't know all that happened there. We're really happy to have him."
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Troy and Trina Crosby sat side-by-side on the same blue couch they've owned for more than a decade. Cards celebrating their son's recent birthday were displayed on the mantle. Photos of their hockey-playing children framed the room.
Now an empty nester and looking every bit the part in capri lounge pants, bare feet and a pair of glasses pushed above her forehead, Trina Crosby seemed genuinely surprised she has spent about one-fifth of her life as the mother of an NHL superstar.
“I think for some people it will always be ‘Sid the Kid,' ” she said. “But it doesn't really stick as much as it used to.”
Ten years into his career, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is no longer a kid. He's a mature 28, celebrating his birthday on the final day of his first hockey camp for kids held to much acclaim in his hometown, at his home rink.
Crosby also is the proud owner of college credits for a World War II history course he completed online last season. He's a philanthropist and has started thinking about his legacy outside of hockey, something he hopes to shape through charity and his foundation.
No longer Mario Lemieux's tenant, Crosby is a homeowner twice over, including lakefront property in rural Nova Scotia that he showed off recently to a Trib Total Media reporter and photographer.
Yet Crosby, the NHL's top earner who pulled in about $17 million last season in salary, endorsements and memorabilia, remains most comfortable in sandals or sneakers, athletic gear and a cap.
Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean spoke with Sportsnet's Luke Fox regarding five "hot topics":
On what the Phil Kessel trade means to Pittsburgh: “It’s great for Sidney Crosby. The challenge with Sid, thinking back to the Vancouver Olympics, is figuring out who to play with him. Finally after about three games, coach Mike Babcock said, ‘Sid, who do you think?’ And he said Eric Staal and Jarome Iginla. I see Kessel as maybe that triggerman that Sidney needs.
On 2015′s biggest free agent, Mike Babcock, moving to Toronto:“Mike Babcock is a big believer in ghost rosters. He doesn’t want too many of the same players. I’m not sure the Leafs had too many other Kessels, to be honest. Toronto will assemble a team in Mike Babcock’s version of teams.
“Mike didn’t want Marty St. Louis, who was the leading scorer in the National Hockey League [in 2013] to go to the Sochi Olympics because he had set out a roster of what he had in mind. He told Steve [Yzerman]: ‘You can pick him, but I won’t be able to play him.’ And Yzerman drafted according to Mike both at Sochi and Vancouver.
“In Vancouver at six in the morning, Yzerman called him and said, ‘Are you up?’ Mike said, ‘I’m a coach. I’m always up.’ And he let him make the final selection on forwards. Mike took Jonathan Toews and put him on the checking line with Rick Nash and Mike Richards—very unconventional. That’s what’s happening in Toronto: Mike’s doing the ghost roster as he sees fit.”
From the NHL:
NHL ANNOUNCES 2014-15 ALL-STAR TEAMS
LAS VEGAS (June 24, 2015) -- Left wing Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who earned his seventh career berth on the First All-Star Team, heads the list of players voted to the 2014-15 National Hockey League postseason All-Star Teams. Also a three-time honoree on the Second Team, Ovechkin’s 10 career postseason All-Star Team selections are the most among active players.
Six of Ovechkin’s seven career First Team berths have come at left wing (he was voted to the First Team at right wing in 2012-13). The only left wings in NHL history with more First Team selections are Bobby Hull (10) and Ted Lindsay (eight).
Joining Ovechkin on the First Team are three first-time selections: goaltender Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, center John Tavares of the New York Islanders and right wing Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers. The squad also features a pair of defensemen who have been selected to the First Team for the second time, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens.
Among those named to the Second Team is Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, voted to his fifth career postseason All-Star berth (3 First Team, 2 Second Team). Defensemen Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators both have landed a spot on the Second Team for the second time, while Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn, Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk and St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko are making their first career appearance on the Second Team.
Voting for the All-Star Team is conducted among representatives of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, carey+price, devan+dubnyk, drew+doughty, erik+karlsson, jakub+voracek, jamie+benn, john+tavares, pk+subban, pk+subban, shea+weber, sidney+crosby, vladimir+tarasenko
From the Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:
People keep calling Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel “generational” players.
It’s a glowing description for the pair of 18-year-old centres expected to be the first and second picks in Friday’s National Hockey League draft at Sunrise, Fla. But what does that mean? Is it the next rung up from a franchise player?
“A generational player to me is a complete player who needs limited coaching, understands the time and temperature of a game, and can beat you with his work and beat you with his skill,” said St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. “You don’t have to paint them a picture to get them to understand it. They already have it in their DNA.”
Bobby Orr had it. So did Wayne Gretzky. Mario Lemieux, for sure. They come along every 10 to 20 years, if hockey fans are lucky.
Eric Lindros was thought to be a generational talent as a teenager because he was so big and made plays with soft hands. Concussion problems, though, limited his climb up the generational scale. Sidney Crosby was a wunderkind growing up, but will he ever be on par with Orr, Gretzky and Lemieux?
McDavid and Eichel, the Boston University freshman centre, have been the rage for years and had scouts raving “watch this kid; he can do it all.” They are both coming to the NHL with a skill set and more hoopla than all the rest. But they haven’t played an NHL game.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Selke Trophy is handed out annually to the NHL's best two-way forward. Crosby's defensive numbers are at career-best levels, and they're on par with every Selke nominee over the past half-decade, guys like Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Datsyuk.
So can Crosby win the Selke?
“Why not?” said assistant coach Rick Tocchet, who has worked with Crosby to refine his defensive game. “He's going against the elite players on the other team a lot of nights. When you're on the plus side a lot of those nights, you have to be considered.”...
How is Crosby's game different? Essentially he's around his own net more. On 50-50 plays, where he once might have cheated toward offense, Crosby is staying below the puck and supporting the defensemen. There are slower, safer breakouts. And he's not taking as many risks.
Things looked grim for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the beginning moments of Saturday’s tilt against the Boston Bruins when Evgeni Malkin briefly left the game after a strong shoulder from Chris Kelly. He would later return.
Malkin did not return to the bench at the start of the 2nd period.
Also, Sidney Crosby took the pre-game but was a late scratch by the Penguins.
Only update from the Penguins...
Sidney Crosby took pre-game warmup but determined that he could not play in the Bruins/Penguins game
Watch his pre-game skate below...
"I wouldn't change anything I'm doing, to be honest with you. I'm working hard. I'm doing my best. If people's expectations are higher than mine, then I can't change that."
-Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins after practice today. More on and from Crosby by Shelly Anderson at the Vancouver Province.
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Haven't seen you around much,” Crosby said. “What's going on?”
I had the same question for him.
After our talk, I'm convinced that answer is one we all should have seen coming but couldn't because nobody likes to acknowledge the one opponent who is undefeated and never really challenged.
Father Time is a jerk. His most hurtful prank is sneaking up on us.
Crosby is 27, which seems so wonderfully young for a professional athlete. That age, or thereabouts that age, is thought to be the prime for an athlete. That's what it is for the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen (28) and the Steelers' Antonio Brown (26).
McCutchen and Brown have combined to play 11 seasons at the highest level of their respective sports. Crosby is finishing his 10th NHL season, and his 95 postseason games have him essentially working into a 12th campaign with the Penguins.
That's a lot of whacks to the lower back, slashes behind the knees, hip checks into the boards and pucks shot off unprotected skate boots.
It's all been too much for anybody to fairly expect continued dominance by Crosby. A toll was inevitable, and we all ignored the obvious signs last year, during and after the Olympics, that Crosby had already paid a steep price.
This was unexpected:
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still has more than half of his career in front of him, and there's a growing consensus he's already a lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"I'd have put him in the Hall of Fame last night," NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes said.
Mike Rupp, Crosby's former teammate, also said he'd vote Crosby into the Hockey Hall of Fame if Crosby never played another game. Former NHL goalie and longtime television analyst Darren Pang said the same thing. So did NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk, who was Crosby's first NHL coach.
"No doubt," Pang said. "There isn't even any hesitation on my behalf."
"I would for sure, because of the personal history," said Olczyk, who will call the NBC Game of the Week on Sunday between the Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Olczyk said the only blemish he can find on Crosby's resume is the disappointing finishes the Penguins have had since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. Crosby has been the face of some of that disappointment in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, particularly last season when he had one goal and nine points in 13 games while playing with a bad wrist.
from David Ebner of the Globe and Mail,
Sidney Crosby is in a slump.
It is an odd thing to say about a hockey player who, as of Sunday morning, was the fourth-leading scorer in the NHL, 56 points in 49 games and only two points out of first....
There have been recent flashes of the real Crosby. Last Friday night in Calgary, he delivered two beautiful goals, the second of which was collected as a pass in full flight, after which he split the Calgary defence and cracked a laser of a wrist shot past the Flames goalie. But the next night, in Vancouver, the same old problems. Crosby looked strong and savvy at times – but managed only one shot at the net, a backhander from in close at a near-impossible angle that had no real hope of going in.
When he does get his chances – and Crosby is driving play this season, as always – the simple fact is he’s connecting at a strong but not superstar level.
This is Sidney Crosby in a slump: excellent, but not amazing.
His shooting percentage is 11.3 per cent, the lowest of his career looking at seasons when he’s been healthy, and the number is down several percentage points from his normal elite rate of 14 per cent-plus.
USA Today's Kevin Allen discussed the maturation of Sidney Crosby--or perhaps the lack of the need for any real maturation--in a particularly long "backgrounder," and this...Well, this is, in my opinion, why people find Crosby so frustrating in terms of his off-ice personality:
"I'm pretty old-fashioned," Crosby told USA TODAY Sports. "I never feel the need to say where I am. Because I do a lot of interviews, people might believe I want my opinion heard. But I don't ever feel a need to share my opinion. This just comes with the territory."
Some athletes bristle at tough questions, or joust with the news media about questions being asked. But that's not Crosby's style because it's not his personality.
"When you are asked a question, that question reflects someone else's opinion," Crosby said. "And my opinion may be different than their opinion, but it's not the place to get into an argument over my opinion and your opinion. They are trying to do their job the best they can, and I have to do my job by answering the question the best I can."