Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
Think of the three greatest hockey players in the world.
Regardless of who you think ranks where in that top three, and how you feel about him personally, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Sidney Crosby(notes) doesn't make your list.
The reason for this criminal underrating, obviously, is that Crosby has won just one MVP award since he entered the league five years ago. In that time, he's ranked sixth, first (his MVP year), 31st (when he missed 29 games and still got 72 points), third and second in the league in scoring. He's also been the youngest captain of a Stanley Cup winner and won Olympic gold and become the most well-rounded player in the game. He's also the reason the Penguins will soon be the first team to play in two Winter Classics.
And, because the hockey world doesn't fall all over itself praising his game, building statues to his effervescent mixture of undeniable skill and raw competitive nature, and foreswearing all other hockey names but his, you all just don't properly value the contributions Crosby has made daily to enrich our pitiful lives.
(Coming Up:Lambert addresses his feud with Blue Jackets fans; Komisarek thinks he's still a Hab; Pat Lalime's LOL moment; Marc Savard's(notes) comeback; rethinking the Chris Botta controversy; an odd new Duck; the tremendous Pat Burns tribute; the Pavel Datsyuk(notes) and Henrik Zetterberg(notes) conundrum; Lou Lamoriello's ticking clock; Maple Leafs quiz show; the most underwhelming trade in HF Boards history; and did the Blackhawks run up the score on Vancouver?)
Says Tribune-Review writer Rob Rossi, the author of this wonderfully enlightening piece:
Still, even off to the best goal start of his career (14 in 21 games) and with 10 of the 25 individual multipoint games recorded for a club with a bottom-third power play, Crosby is not the quarter-pole favorite for MVP.
Shocking specificity in the need to find multi-point night stats aside, Rossi raises an interesting point: Crosby has more goals to date than he has through 21 games at any point in his career; so why would we not unanimously vote him MVP if the season ended today?
My theory, and it's only a theory, is that it's because Johnny-Come-Lately flavor of the month fluke chump Steven Stamkos has been in everyone's OPINION, the best player in the NHL this season. I mean, if I had to come up with a reason so obviously stupid and wrongheaded.
Says Rossi of Stamkos, he's "the NHL leader through Friday in goals and points, according to rankings by ESPN.com and USA Today. Those are subject to personal bias -- not that Hart Trophy voting by select members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association eliminates that possibility." Yes that's right, his 19 goals and 34 points through 20 games (as opposed to Crosby's heroic 14 and 33 through 21) are subject to personal bias. Yours, against Crosby, specifically.
What you IDIOTS out there don't seem to understand is that Crosby has eight goals and 18 points in his last eight games! Don't you see now, how wrong you are? Where's your Stamkos now? With just eight goals and 14 points in his last eight games, it should be pretty clear that he isn't fit to hold Crosby's equipment bag.
But not only that! Crosby has also made the players around him better, says Rossi. The reason Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) is playing better now isn't that he almost couldn't play any worse, it's because Crosby publicly supported him. And why Evgeni Malkin's(notes) got 10 points in the last five games. Stamkos hasn't done anything to make the players around him better. That's just a fact.
But you'll soon see that Crosby is not only the greatest player alive, but also the best among those no longer living. In fact, he will also prove himself to be the best player in most other sports as well. He hasn't even been putting out a top effort most nights this season, just to lull you into a false sense of security.
Just wait 'til he turns it on for real. Then you can come crawling back to me with your apologies.
"Steven Stamkos is having the best year in the league right now and that's why Crosby doesn't deserve the Hart Trophy." Don't make me laugh.
Atlanta Thrashers: Ondrej Pavelec(notes) has been pretty decent lately. A 29-save shutout of Washington, at the time the league's points leader, on Friday and then a 28-save 2-1 overtime win over the Islanders, the league's worst team by far, on Sunday. He now has three wins in 11 appearances despite a 1.93 GAA and .939 save percentage.