Sidney Crosby, Dan Bylsma

Bylsma: ‘No question’ Crosby should win MVP


To hear Dan Byslma explain it, Sidney Crosby is the runaway winner for this year’s Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” Bylsma said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m not sure there was last  year. He didn’t play as many games as he would have liked. I still thought he  distinguished himself as the MVP last season.”

Last year Crosby scored 56 points in 36 games, missing significant time with a broken jaw — yet still ended up finishing second in Hart voting to Alex Ovechkin, who captured the third MVP of his career.

The Hart Trophy disparity between Crosby and Ovechkin has made for some interesting discussion. With three MVPs, Ovechkin is in some pretty hallowed ground, joining the likes of Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Bobby Clarke, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky as the only three-time Hart winners in NHL history.

Crosby, meanwhile, has been stuck on one MVP since capturing the 2007 Hart. Ovechkin, Henrik Sedin, Corey Perry and Crosby’s running mate in Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin, have all won since.

This year, though, No. 87 looks to be the clear-cut favorite.

He leads the NHL in assists (58) and points (91) through 69 games. That latter statistic is key, because Crosby has appeared in every game for the Pens — in his previous eight seasons, he’s never managed to play all 82 (or, in the case of the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, 48.)

It’s partly why Bylsma is so convinced Crosby will be taking home his second-ever Hart Trophy this summer.

“This season, I don’t think it’s  even close,” Bylsma said. “I think there’s no question. I think he’s skating away with it.”

Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci

The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

Here’s his first goal of the night:

While this is his overtime game-winner:

It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy


Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.