Examining Sidney Crosby's struggles


crosbystruggles.jpgDuring the Ottawa Senators series, Sidney Crosby was making a case for being the consensus greatest player in the hockey world. With an absurd 14 points in only 5 games, it looked like he was going to threaten Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux for all-time playoff performances.

It only seems fair, then, that the deification that took place in the first round should give way to a fair amount of furrowed brows now that he’s colder than Todd Bertuzzi’s heart. Especially since Alex Ovechkin received so much heat when the Capitals lost to the Montreal Canadiens.

Just look at the most obvious numbers. He scored 14 points in 6 games against Ottawa. Against the Habs, Crosby has 3 points (all assists) in 4 games. He doesn’t have a single goal in the series. There are three games in the Senators series in which he matched (or exceeded) his current totals against Montreal. Crosby only has one game in which he put more than a single shot on goal (five in last night’s contest).

By no means is it time to panic, but I can’t help but wonder what’s eating Sid. He’s obviously frustrated (as one could have seen in Game 2, when he broke his stick on Jaroslav Halak’s goalpost ). He might miss Bill Guerin’s presence. Perhaps Hal Gill has the “book” on the young center.

Either way, the Penguins rely very heavily on Crosby’s offense. The salary cap structure of this team necessitates that the burden falls on Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, so as unfair as it might be, the team lives and dies with their big names. It’s time for Crosby to deliver on his constant expectations. Again.

Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

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Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

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


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.