MONDAY BUZZ COLUMN
If Patrick Kane had asked for the Hart Trophy for Christmas back on December 18th, Santa would have had it under the tree on Christmas morning.
That’s the trophy that goes to the NHL’s Most Valuable Player and Kane was running away with the scoring title back then after scoring at least one point in 26 consecutive games.
Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby was on his way to getting a lump of coal.
He had six goals and 13 assists in 30 games and no points in 18 of those games.
Kane had 19 goals and 28 assists for 47 points in 33 games – an average of 1.42 points per game.
Fans and some in the media were saying everything from take away Crosby’s C to trade him before the rest of the league realizes he’s washed up.
Boy have things changed.
Crosby could ask for the Hart Trophy in his Easter basket and the Easter Bunny would have to give him serious consideration.
Since December 18th, Crosby has played 41 games. That’s half a season.
He has 24 goals and 35 assists – an average of 1.44 points per game. The Penguins are 24-17 since then and they’ve moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division.
I heard one of the guys on the NHL Radio Network say today that the Penguins are the best team in the NHL right now.
Kane has also played 41 games since December 18th and he’s put up 47 points – 23 goals and 24 assists.
The Blackhawks are 25-16 since then, but they’re 10-15 since a 12 game winning streak ended on January 19th.
Crosby has climbed into third place in scoring with 76 points, four points behind Jamie Benn.
He’d need a Lemieux-esque finish to catch Kane, who leads with 92, but, because of what the two teams have been doing lately, Crosby is every bit as deserving of the Hart Trophy and should get serious consideration.
There’s always some confusion about MVP trophies. Do they go to the best player or the player who’s most valuable to his team?
If you really want to sound like a smart hockey analyst, you’re required to refer to Marc Andre Fleury as the Penguins best and most valuable player right now.
Neither is true.
Crosby is the best player in the world and, as great as Fleury has been and as much as he kept them from disappearing before Jim Rutherford made Mike Johnston disappear, Crosby is the number one reason the Penguins are looking like a serious contender for the Cup again.
There isn’t a general manager in the league who would rather have Patrick Kane.
–If it’s true that TCU is trying to get Jamie Dixon away from Pitt, how will they sell him to their fans? What has he done lately to get anybody excited?
— So Andrew McCutchen might bat second? The Pirates noticed that he came up to bat 158 times last season with two outs and nobody on – second most in the Major Leagues.
But, will he be expected to do what guys in that spot have done for most of the last hundred years and play hit and run?
If McCutchen doesn’t come up lots of times with the lead off hitter leading off first base, then the lead off hitter isn’t doing his job. If the lead off hitter gets on first, should McCutchen swing at bad pitches to help him steal second?
Should he forget about driving the ball and hit behind the runner who’s headed to second? Do you want a 30-home run guy playing small ball?
Or have analytics made all the old notions about where hitters hit in the order obsolete?
Can’t hurt to find out.
-Both of my 14-year old grandsons could handle being in a Major League Baseball locker room. That doesn’t mean that I would expect a Major League team to want him in there every day.
-Think Phil Kessel is having a rotten year? He has 47 points. Jonathan Toews has 50. Long season.
-Be glad you are a Steelers fan and not a Browns fan. They’re planning to blow it up again this year. The owner, Jim Haslam has changed GM/coach regimes three times in four years since taking ownership.
The Browns stand a good chance of going 0-16 next season.
If they continue to imitate the Steelers in their first 40 years before Chuck Noll, Johnny Manziel is a lock for the Hall of Fame not that they’ve released him.