NHL AWARDS RESULTS GOOD NEWS FOR PENGUINS

Sidney Crosby had to settle for the Mark Messier Award last night at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.

Henrik Sedin got the Hart Trophy for MVP (voted on by the writers) and Alexander Ovechkin got the Ted Lindsay Award which goes to the best player as voted on by NHL players.

I don’t think there is a GM in the league who would rather have Sedin than Crosby and I think most would pick Crosby over Ovechkin.

Crosby and Ovechkin may have helped Sedin win by splitting so many votes between them.

I think there’s at least a little bit of Sid backlash in play here. Ovechkin’s numbers and his highlight reel speak for themselves and it’s perfecty understandable that lots of players would vote for him over Crsoby, but I think there are some players, especially North American ones, who are tired of the Sid the Kid routine.

Crosby may be a little too perfect.  I can see where Crosby could get on a player’s nerves. Unless Crosby was his teammate. You have to see Crosby every game to appreciate him. As spectacular as his highlight reel could be, it’s never going to measure up to Ovechkin’s.

Playing well in your own end, winning face offs and digging pucks out from along the wall are not highlight reel material but they translate into wins.

The Messier Award may be the one most suited for Crosby. It’s for leadership, which means it’s the award that rewards the little things.

Crosby not getting the Hart Trophy or Lindsay Award should be considered good news by Penguins fans because it’s just going to make Crosby more intense.  Watch him for five minutes and you know he HATES to lose. This will only make him play harder. If that’s possible.

LET THE DEALING BEGIN

The NHL might have something for Pittsburgh sports fans who have nothing to hold their attention other than The Most Annoying Franchise in History.

Do you like trades and trade rumors?

The NHL Draft is tomorrow night and there are lots of rumors and there have already been some major trades. If you watched the Blackhawks in the playoffs, you had to notice Dustin Byfuglien. He’s a 6’5″, 257 lb. power forward who played a huge role in their run to the Stanley Cup.

He was traded to Atlanta as part of a nine player deal. The Blackhawks get a first and second round pick in the draft as part of the deal. They’re the two picks that the Thrashers got when they traded Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey.

The Boston Bruins had one of the worst offenses in the league last season and they picked up Nathan Horton from the Florida Panthers. He hasn’t lived up to his potential since being picked third overall in 2003, but he’s only 25 and could still become a 30–40 goal scorer.

The Canadiens traded a guy whose name will be a dirty world in Pittsburgh for a longtime, Jaroslav Halak, to the St Louis Blues last week.

There are lots of big name players out there who could be traded. There’s actually a rumor circulating among Toronto Maple Leafs fans that the Penguins could be trading Jordan Stahl to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle, one of the best defensemen in the league.

According to STLTODAY.com Tampa Bay’s new GM Steve Yzerman is shopping Ryan Malone around.

TSN is reporting that the Penguins are looking into trading the negotiating rights to Sergei Gonchar. They can’t trade Gonchar, but they could find a team willing to pay his asking price and get something for him before he becomes a free agent tomorrow.

Jason Spezza, the Ottawa Senators number one center, is probably going to be traded.

Things should get more interesting as we get closer to the first pick in the draft tomorrow night at 7.

WHO’S THE BEST?

The NHL knows how to hand out awards and there are plenty of them to hand out tonight in Las Vegas.

Alexander Ovechkin is considered the favorite to win his third Hart Trophy for Most Valuable Player. Sidney Crosby and Henrik Sedin are the other two finalsists.

I would be surprised if Ovechkin didn’t win, but I still believe that at least 90% of the GMs in the NHL would pick Crosby if given a choice.

Both disappeared a little too early in the playoffs and both disappeared against the same Montreal Canadiens team, so, the lustre is off both of them at least a little bit this Summer.

I will always favor Crosby because of the little things that he does, even those little things aren’t really that little.

Despite having trouble against Montreal, Crosby is still one of the best face off guys in the league and he’s so much better than Ovechkin in the defensive end of the ice.

Ovechkin is probably going to outscore Crosby every year, but I think Crosby, despite having superstar statistics, is so much more than stats.

Check out the “Big Three” video on TSN for a good look at the three finalists.

COOKE SIGNING IS BIG FOR PENGUINS

Several weeks ago the Hockey News had a cover story on NHL free agents and Matt Cooke was on the front page. He’s not a 30 goal scorer and he’s not going to win the Hart Trophy but he was a huge part of the Penguins’ success.

The Penguins signed him to a three year deal today. He could have been an unrestricted free agent July 1st.

Ray Shero may have gotten away with one here.  It had been looking like he had made a mistake by not signing Cooke before his value went up and his value went way up with the way he played in the post season.

Cooke is one of those guys you hate with a passion if he’s playing for the other guys.

Penguins fans should love the fact that he’s going to be here for three more years.

By the way, I’d be fine if they dropped the first puck tomorrow. Anything to get the Pirates out of the news.

IF GOLFERS ARE ATHLETES THEN OBAMA’S NO ATHLETE

We had a pretty good debate in here about whether the golf swing that allows a player to compete on the PGA Tour requires athleticism. I say it does. Others have compared Tiger Woods hitting a ball 265 yards with a three wood off a sidehill-downhill lie to shooting pool.

I’ve said here many times that Obama has a nice jump shot.

As a golfer, he’s a really good basketball player.

This video of Obama’s golf swing is a perfect example of a guy who shouldn’t set foot on a golf course until he takes some lessons.

It’s hard  to decide if this is more embarrassing than his first pitch at the Nationals game.

I think I’ll go with the pitch because it’s easier to throw a ball 60 feert six inches and not look like Oprah Winfrey than it is to have a smooth golf swing.

(That’s including cutting him some slack because of the bullet proof vest.)