Is Crosby's popularity at risk?


I know that we’re all tired about hearing about Sidney Crosby, his
equipment and his ‘snub’ of Letterman last week. Even for the
non-haters, I’m sure it’s getting to be a bit much.

Just one more, but it’s topical.

Molinari answers a reader’s question
on whether Crosby’s Olympic
goal will hurt his overall popularity in the United States.

There’s no real precedent for something like this — no player who
was active in the NHL at the time (yes, that includes Peter Forsberg in
1994) has scored an Olympic goal like the one Crosby got in overtime of
the gold-medal game — so there’s no way of being certain how his
treatment by fans in U.S. cities will change, if it does at all.

The guess here is that the U.S. fans who disliked him before the
Olympics will continue to do so, and that those who liked (or, at least,
respected) him going into the Games aren’t going to have their opinion
seriously altered by his championship-clinching goal.

One would like to believe that rational people — and more than a few
fans have proven, with their words and deeds since the Olympics, that
their membership in that group has lapsed — understand that Crosby was
representing his country and wanted to do everything possible to help
his team win the tournament, just as every guy who pulled on a U.S.
sweater did.

Just judging by the comments over the past week on PHT, it’s obvious
that Crosby has a number of hockey fans that don’t like him, and I doubt
that he won many over during the Olympics. At the same time, I really
don’t see how the fact that he scored against the USA in the Olympics
will hurt his popularity in the U.S.; fans who want to hate him, will.

What the U.S. needs is an American superstar who is one of the best
players in the NHL scoring a bunch of points each season. Hmmmm…..

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

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When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.