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?

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.

Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.