LAS VEGAS — Brief and to the Point …
>> This is my news coverage of Evgeni Malkin winning the Hart Trophy.
We can take events like this for granted in Pittsburgh, but we shouldn’t. The Penguins are blessed to have had six Hart winners in the past 25 years, and there easily could have been two more except for one really close call each for Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. It’s an amazing run of fortune, and it’s not like it has to end anytime soon. Malkin is 25, Crosby 24.
Enjoy it. You never know when it won’t be there.
>> Malkin conducted himself wonderfully over these two days, both in the way he handled questions to the various off-camera endeavors. Engaged people directly, smiling forthright. He’s come such a long way.
>> No one likes to be No. 2. Never believe otherwise.
>> Let’s not lose sight of James Neal being a first-team all-star at right wing. That’s great recognition for his 40-goal breakout.
>> The NHL commits a lot of self-inflicted wounds, but none more painful than this mockery of an awards show. And that’s been true for years, including when it was this horrific stage for Canadian comics. (I still have Ron MacLean nightmares.)
But when that starts infringing on the awards, it’s gone too far.
Just before the final commercial break last night, the director found it important to get Nickelback a second song over this two-hour show. Never mind that it’s never important for Nickelback to play a single note. This just had to happen. So the Vezina Trophy for best goaltender got rushed, Malkin had his potentially moving speech dedicating the Hart to Sergei Gonchar cut off — they started playing that Oscars type music to send the message that he should shut up, for crying out loud! — then the league completely omitted any mention of its post-season all-stars.
Say it with me, with gusto: GARAGE LEAGUE.
>> Remember the challenge put forth at the end of yesterday’s Malkin column, the one about finding trades in any sports in which the best player in the league was dealt and the seller still won?
A couple readers, as well as really important Trib guy Jim Cuddy, raised the name of Herschel Walker.
>> The chat will be delayed a day, to noon Friday, because of the travel back from Vegas.