Canadian Press names Sidney Crosby its male athlete of the year

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The Canadian Press named Sidney Crosby its male athlete of the year, making it the third time the 23-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins center managed to earn that honor. Crosby joins Wayne Gretzky and Maurice Richard as the only hockey players to earn the Lionel Conacher Award at least three times.

Major League Baseball’s National League MVP Joey Votto finished second in the voting. Crosby earned 162 votes (38 first place selections) while Votto received 126 votes (and 22 first place selections).

Of course, many will wonder if Crosby was even the best Canadian hockey player of the year. Jonathan Toews had quite the 2010 too. He also earned a gold medal with Team Canada while being named one of the tournament’s best players, then won a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy to boot.

So what kind of full year – counting games from the 2009-10 and 09-10 seasons that fell under the 2010 calendar year, the Olympics and the playoffs – did Crosby actually have? I put together his stats from game logs and other stats at Hockey Reference.com to come up with this rundown. I’ll thrown in some individual accomplishments to boot.

  • Of course, he scored the overtime game-winner that earned Team Canada the gold medal, the main reason he earned this award.
  • He shared the Maurice Richard Trophy with Steven Stamkos for total goals in the 09-10 season.
  • Obviously, there’s that 25-game point scoring streak that just concluded with 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 points.
  • So far in 10-11, he scored 32 goals and 33 assists for 65 points in 39 games.
  • In the 41 games he played from the 09-10 season this year, he scored 28 goals and 33 assists for 61 points. So in 82 regular season games for 2010 between the two chunks of seasons, he scored a whopping 60 goals and 65 assists for 125 points. Wow.
  • In 13 playoff games, he scored six goals and 13 assists for 19 points.
  • Many say he didn’t do much aside from scoring that OT GWG in the Olympics, but he still scored four goals and three assists for seven points in seven games. Then again, compared to his other stats, he was a downright slacker.

Looking at that list of numbers and accomplishments, it’s hard to deny that Crosby had the best year of any Canadian athlete. Here is a little more about his award winning turn via TSN.

The golden goal had such an impact that it has earned Crosby the Lionel Conacher Award as The Canadian Press male athlete of the year for the third time in four years.

He previously topped the annual poll of the country’s newsrooms after significant achievements that were months in the making — winning the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP in 2007 and leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2009. His third award comes in recognition of a magical moment where he seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“That’s the big thing that sticks out to me,” Crosby said in an interview. “Obviously, that goal and the Olympic Games themselves. That was a pretty unique experience. To have it in Canada and to play hockey and represent your country in a sport that everybody is so passionate about, it was pretty special.”

Congratulations to Crosby on an outstanding year. The question is: how will he top it in 2011?

Kings give another kid a look, recall AHL All-Star Brodzinski

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Last summer, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter stressed that some of the club’s young prospects needed to make an impact at the NHL level.

And now it’s happening.

Following the recalls and NHL debuts of Adrian Kempe and Paul LaDue, the Kings have brought up Jonny Brodzinski from AHL Ontario, the club announced on Thursday.

Brodzinski, 23, made the AHL All-Star team this year and leads the Reign in goals, with 25 through 56 games. The former St. Could State sniper left school early two years ago to join the Kings organization, after L.A. took him in the fifth round of the ’13 draft.

As mentioned above, this recall is in lockstep with what’s developed throughout the year. Kempe, 20, was the club’s first-round pick (29th overall) in ’14 and has fared well since joining the big club, with six points in 16 games.

LaDue, 24, was a sixth-round pick in ’12 that — like Kempe and Brodzinski — fared well in the American League before getting recalled in February. LaDue has appeared in 15 games for the Kings, scoring five points while averaging 16:25 TOI per night.

Los Angeles is still technically in the playoff race, but sits eight points back of Nashville for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference — with just 10 games to play. As such, the focus might now shift to giving some youngsters NHL experience.

Brodzinski will have to wait for his, however. Per LA Kings Insider, it doesn’t look like he’ll play tonight, when the Kings host the Jets at Staples.

 

 

Polak gets two games for boarding Bjorkstrand

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Roman Polak‘s hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand has drawn more than the ire of Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella.

Today, the NHL announced that Polak, a defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been suspended two games for boarding Bjorkstrand Wednesday in Columbus.

In making the ruling, the league’s Department of Player Safety determined that Polak sent Bjorkstrand “violently” into the boards from behind, causing an injury. The DoPS also noted that the hit was avoidable, with the onus on Polak to “ensure that he avoids this hit entirely, or at the very least, minimizes the force of the impact.”

You can watch the full ruling below:

Wild prospect Kunin leaves Wisconsin, turns pro

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Minnesota is getting one of its prized youngsters in the mix.

Luke Kunin, the club’s first-round pick (15th overall) at last year’s draft, is leaving the University of Wisconsin following his sophomore campaign, per the Star-Tribune. Kunin will reportedly join Minnesota’s AHL affiliate in Iowa on an amateur tryout.

Kunin, 19, is coming off a pretty successful campaign. He was the first soph to captain the Badgers in over 40 years, and led the team in goals (22) and points (38). That came after he captained the U.S. to gold at the world juniors, scoring four points in seven games.

Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Kunin will play out this year in the minors, and his entry-level deal will kick in next season. That means he won’t be with the Wild at all this year — regular season or playoffs.

As mentioned, Kunin is just one of the many talented prospects Minnesota has in the fold. Russian Kirill Kaprizov, Sweden’s Joel Eriksson-Ek and Kunin’s U.S. junior teammate, Jordan Greenway, all showed extremely well at the worlds.

Hurricanes sign Finnish prospect Kuokkanen

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The Carolina Hurricanes have another talented, young Finn under contract.

The ‘Canes announced this morning that they’ve signed forward Janne Kuokkanen to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Kuokkanen was drafted in the second round, 43rd overall, in 2016. The 18-year-old is currently with the OHL’s London Knights. He finished the regular season with 26 goals and 36 assists in 60 games.

“Janne was outstanding in our rookie tournament in Traverse City in September, and stayed in North America to continue his development in the Ontario Hockey League,” said ‘Canes GM Ron Francis in a release. “He’s a smart, skilled forward and we look forward to the start of his professional career.”

The ‘Canes already have two Finnish forwards in Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen.

Aho and Kuokkanen were teammates in the Karpat (Liiga) development system in Finland.