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The case for Crosby to win the Hart Trophy

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Break out the accusations that I’m a homer, but Tuesday night provided a prime example of the MVP credentials for C SIDNEY CROSBY, who played 27:01 — way too much given his busy season this Olympic year, by the way — because C EVGENI MALKIN (illness) and LW CHRIS KUNITZ (shoulder) were out and the Penguins were down to 11 healthy forwards.

Crosby is tied with RW ALEX OVECHKIN of the Capitals for the NHL lead with 48 goals. Ovechkin has played eight fewer games, but made up for that by scoring four more empty-net goals. Hey, no knock against Ovechkin; empty-netters count, too.

Still, my main point for Crosby as league MVP comes from comparing his carrying of the Penguins this season. I’ve seen 90 percent of their games in person, and I’m telling you they are a low-seed in the East without Crosby, not a home-ice advantage club. Consider they are only 35-23-7 — only 59.2 percent of possible points earned — since Nov. 1.

Malkin has missed 15 games. Keep in mind that he is a significant piece for the Penguins (duh!). Last season, he and Crosby each topped 100 points, and the difference between Crosby as the team’s second scorer with 103 points and C JORDAN STAAL as the team’s third scorer with 49 points was one of the largest margins between a team’s second and third scorers in NHL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Crosby is plus-28 in points on Malkin, who this season is second on the Penguins with 72 points in 64 games. He is plus-52 on Staal, who is third on the club with 48 points.

(Note: For the purposes of this comparison I don’t count players added at the trade deadline, so when discussing leading scorers I’m only talking players to spend the entire season with the Penguins. Last year, that excluded RW BILL GUERIN and this year it applies to LW ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY.)

Crosby began Tuesday tied with Canucks C HENRIK SEDIN for the highest margin of difference by a team’s leading scorer and a team’s second-leading scorer. Sedin is a deserving MVP candidate, but G ROBERTO LUONGO (2.56 GAA/.913 SV%) had slightly surpassed MARC-ANDRE FLEURY of the Penguins (2.64 GAA/.905 SV%) in overall performance, and Vancouver has benefited from 74 points from C RYAN KESLER — thus giving Crosby, in my opinion, the slight nod over Sedin in the MVP race.

Then again, perhaps the race is really between a couple of goalies in Phoenix and Buffalo? Still, if it goes to a forward, as it usually does, Crosby should be that forward. He has quite literally carried the Penguins this season.

VIDEO KILLED THE NEWSPAPER STAR

Hardly a star, but only real men wear purple:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid9113557001?bclid=5982073001&bctid=76266289001

MELLON MEMORIES

Dear readers looking to share their best Igloo stories can drop me a note at rrossi@tribweb.com … The plan is to put together some of the best to run Thursday for the regular-season finale. Please include your FULL NAME and HOMETOWN, or else I won’t be reading what you write.

— BY ROB ROSSI (4/7/10)

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

Comments

  1. Paul M says:

    You’re a homer. Your argument is really more of an indictment of the rest of the team.

  2. Lisa says:

    I agree with you, Rob. Crosby has carried the Pens this season–can any of us imagine where the Pens would be without him??!?? The Caps have won alot of games without Ovechkin in the lineup: he is NOT their MVP. H Sedin should also be in the running; I would pick him for second, Ovie for third. If I was voting yes, Sid would be my #1.
    Sid showed what he is capable of last night against the Caps, playing well and scoring that PPG but, alas, some of his teammates let him down. But you are correct, as usual: Sid should be MVP. Period. Go Pens!

  3. Bobby O says:

    I agree. The Caps winning percentage without Ovechkin is still better than the Pens percentage with Crosby. They would win the division without him and the Pens would be lucky to even make it without Crosby. Both Sedin and Crosby should be favorites over Ovechkin if the votes were actually based on the player most valuable to his team but we know that really isn’t what it’s about. It’s about the player most marketable for the NHL and fan favorites. Plus, wHL writers are just as baised and unfounded in their opinions as any dolt you’ll catch chanting Crosby sucks.

  4. mario l says:

    don’t know if sid is mvp, but alex def isn’t…the caps haven’t missed a beat when he’s been out..( suspended ) that team is more then just alex now…..semin @ 39 goals, etc…

  5. concernedpensfan87 says:

    Rossi Makes a Compelling Case for Sidney Crosby MVP….some additional notes:

    If we accept that the MVP is the player most valuable to his team in terms of winning games, Crosby is the clear choice for the HART this year. Without him, I agree, the Penguins would not be near a playoff spot.
    Crosby brings a unique set of skills that is unmatched in the league. No one brings to the table the prolific goal scoring [which he has cranked up even higher this year], exceptional playmaker/passing skills, shootout prowess, faceoff prowess, skating skill and speed, grinder skills, consistency of play and puck handling skills that he displays every night. He is ranked in the top on every category.
    With Malkin barely showing up for games, and with his wingers struggling to find the net, Crosby has produced 19.6% of the Penguins goals this year. Ovechkin by comparison has scored only 15.4% of the Capitals goals. Sedin has produced only 11% of the Canucks goals.

    Game Winning Goals:
    Crosby has scored 5 gwgs this year, plus 4 shoot out game winners and 1 overtime winner. In comparison, Sedin has only 5 game winner goals. The Canucks have gone to the shootout 7 times this season, Henrik has not taken a shot. Ovechkin has 6 gwg, no shootout winners and ranks 22% in shootouts, vs. Crosby 80%.
    Faceoffs
    Crosby takes and wins more faceoffs than anyone else in the league, giving his team a puck possession edge. On his team, he is the only player to rank above 50% in faceoff wins, of those who have taken more than 100 faceoffs. Crosby has taken 1708 and won 958 for a 56.1% average. The next closest is Staal who has taken 1260 and won 605 for a 48% average.
    H. Sedin by contrast, has taken the most faceoffs on his team, with 1492, but only has a 49.2 average.

  6. Ryan H says:

    My problem is with Ovechkin being considered the far away front runner to win again this season. Last year many thought he deserved it over Malkin because #71 had Sid, but isn’t Ovechkin just as surrounded by superstar talent this year? And has he really been his dominant self in recent weeks? If Ovechkin wins again, I won’t necessarily agree with it, but I will understand why. The guy is an unbelievable talent and the best pure goal-scorer I have ever seen play. But it is annoying that if anyone else wins the Hart it might be considered an upset…

  7. Tim says:

    I agree with Paul M. You can argue all you want about which of the forwards is more deserving, but no one has been more valuable to their team this year than either Ilya Bryzgalov (in Phoenix) or Ryan Miller (in Buffalo). Neither one of those teams would make the playoffs without them. I would give the slight edge to Miller because his team is not only going to make the playoffs but also win their division. (A division which may very well include 4 out of its 5 teams in the playoffs).

  8. concernedpensfan87 says:

    Tom Awad from PuckProspectus (link below) thinks Crosby is MVP. He has some interesting stats..

    http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=519

    He also raises some interesting points about Ovechkin Goal Scorer or Padded stats: [excerpt from article]“It’s important to note that 5 of Ovechkin’s 48 goals and 3 of Sedin’s 29 have been empty-netters, in each case over 10% of their total. Only 1 of Crosby’s 48 have been empty-net goals. While empty-net goals are legitimate for the Rocket Richard trophy, since they do count on the scoreboard, they should be at least discounted when looking at a player’s offensive contribution, as they rarely affect a game’s outcome and are much easier to score. To those who say that empty-net goals require work since the team is playing short-handed, I would remind you that teams playing against empty-net opponents score roughly 13 goals per 60 minutes, twice the rate of a power-play and over five times the rate at which teams score at even-strength. It’s just not that hard for an NHL superstar to score into an empty-net.”

  9. FJS says:

    “Value”, if you want to call it that, cannnot be measured by stats alone.
    But, obviously, that’s all the MVP awards are ever about.
    I think Crosby’s value to his team goes far beyond just the numbers.
    I would consider the Ovechkin suspension, and taking runs at players a detriment to his team.
    What does Sid do? Refuses to take credit for his “would be” 50th goal (which hit Guerin on the way into the net).
    Team players don’t get enough credit, even the one’s that are Superstars.
    Sid puts his team first. Way to go Sid.

 
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