There has been a lot of discussion on who is leading the Calder and Art Ross races, but there is another race that NHL fans should be looking at: the leader for NHL’s Cy Young award. The leader right now has to be has to be Thomas Vanek with an 18-5 record (the exact record that Tim Lincecum finished with after winning his Cy Young award this past season). However, he is followed close behind by Jeff Carter, who got his 17th and 18th goals (wins) last night, but also got an assist to bump up his total of 7. Whoever can reach the 40 mark without getting 20 assists will be saying “woo hoo!” in no time. My bet is on Vanek, whose game is more in front of the net; while Carter is a center and handles the puck more, and should see his assist total come up a little bit more. Despite their great starts towards the NHL’s Cy Young award, I’m not too sure if either will match Marek Svatos’ ratio of 26:11 last season. Incredibly, through 23 games this season, Svatos has more assists than goals (4-7)!
Here’s something fascinating to wrap your brains around: In last year’s baseball off-season, there was a trade offer on the table that would have sent Tim Lincecum to the Toronto Blue Jays for fan favorite Alex Rios. This trade did not happen. Lincecum went on to win the real National League Cy Young award with a struggling Giants club and Rios had an average season with the Jays. At last years NHL trade deadline, there was an offer on the table that would have sent Jeff Carter and a draft pick (steal!!) to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle refused to waive his NTC. Kaberle is having a good season with the Leafs and Carter is finally becoming the player I always knew he would become (the one that would be a better point producer than Mike Richards). So here is another example of Toronto based sports teams getting wood laid on them.
“NHL.com: Crosby, Malkin gaining momentum in ASG Votes.” Let’s be honest. Did you think the NHL would actually allow enthusiastic Montreal fans to robotically stuff the ballots with Canadiens players? I’m not saying that they are robotically stuffing their own ballots to even out the numbers.. wait.. that’s exactly what I’m saying. The heads at the NHL recognized a problem with their system and they are fixing it. They are fighting fire with fire. And rightfully so. Judging by the negative feedback outside of Montreal regarding the ridiculous domination of Canadiens players atop the ballots, the NHL would have lost a serious amount of interest in their All Star game had they allowed a complete Habs starting lineup to become a reality. Good for the NHL for exercising their power and giving deserving players their rightful recognition.
Stefen Legein has come out of a retirement. Legein, the 2007 second round draft pick (37th overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets, retired last year after winning gold for Canada at the World Junior Championships. He claimed that he lost passion to play and a shoulder injury that would have sidelined him for 3 months justified his decision. My belief is that Legein simply needed a break from hockey. He was 19 when he made his decision and probably just wanted to experience a few months with his friends as a normal teenager. Judging from several interviews, Legein has a spontaneous personality who needed a few months away from the game to realize how much he missed it and what kind of opportunity he was giving up. This is a perfectly understandable scenario for a kid who was pushed into becoming an adult. I’m sure that Legein had a good time in Oakville over the past few months, not having to think about hokey responsibilities. He now joins his Team Canada buddy and fellow Oakvill-ian, Steve Mason, in the Columbus system.
Speaking of Oakville, whatever they are doing down there, keep it up. They are responsible for the upbrining of Stefan Legin, Steve Mason, Sam Gagner and potential 1st overall pick John Tavares. Something in the water.
Two more quick shots: I am soo happy Paul Maurice has found another job in the NHL, as he has been named head coach (until the end of the year) with the Hurricanes. Also, rest in peace Toronto business mogul, Ted Rogers, who died yesterday morning. Thank you for keeping the Jays in Toronto.