Michael Russo's Sunday Insider: Penguins' Crosby looking like Hart Trophy favorite

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 11, 2014 - 10:58 PM

Halfway through this season, Sidney Crosby is the Hart Trophy favorite.

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Sidney Crosby had a league-leading 67 points and 25 goals, tied for second, into Saturday’s games.

Photo: Gene J. Puskar • Associated Press,

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A season ago, once we passed that 41-game plateau, we were well into the stretch drive of the shortened season and readying for the playoffs.

Not this year. We have half a season left, which means it’s time for the midseason awards:

Hart Trophy (MVP): Three years ago when Sidney Crosby was running away with the Hart race, he sustained a concussion that derailed everything. If he remains healthy this second half, Crosby will win his second Hart Trophy and second scoring title. Crosby is running away with the scoring race with 67 points, 13 more than anyone else. Crosby has helped catapult the Penguins to the tippy top of the East despite an unbelievable run of injuries. Runners-up: Patrick Kane, Chicago; Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim; Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay; Alex Ovechkin, Washington.

Norris Trophy (Best defenseman): Duncan Keith is a remarkable defenseman to watch. He’s got tremendous skill, mobility, vision and passing ability. And for a guy who’s not overly big at 6-1 and 200 pounds, he’s surprisingly strong in the corners and down low. He leads all defensemen in scoring this year and is a plus-17. Runners-up: Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis; Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis; P.K. Subban, Montreal; Drew Doughty, Los Angeles.

Calder Trophy (Best rookie): In the first half, this was a two-man race between Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl, the No. 17 pick in the 2012 draft. Hertl made a name for himself with a four-goal, seven-shot performance against the Rangers in October, but MacKinnon, who is just phenomenal with electrifying skill, speed and a big shot, has consistently gotten better all season long. This kid is going to be scary and one of the league’s best for many years to come. Runners-up: Hertl (now out with a major knee injury); Torey Krug, Boston; Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim; Antti Raanta, Chicago.

Vezina Trophy (Best goalie): For a team that has played a large chunk of the year without goal scorer extraordinaire Steven Stamkos, 6-7 behemoth Ben Bishop, the University of Maine product, has been exceptional to help keep the Tampa Bay Lightning afloat. He is 22-5-3 with the NHL’s second-best goals-against average to the Wild’s Josh Harding and league’s best save percentage at .935. Runners-up: Harding; Tuukka Rask, Boston; Semyon Varlamov, Colorado; Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh.

Jack Adams Trophy (Best coach): In the first year under former goaltending great Patrick Roy, the Avalanche has surged to being one of the top teams in the Western Conference and maybe the biggest surprise in the NHL. Everybody knew how deep the Avs were up front, but nobody could have predicted that their blue liners would be as good as they are. Roy and his staff have to be given credit for how well players such as Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda have performed. Runners-up: Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay; Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh; Craig Berube, Philadelphia; Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim.

Selke Trophy (Best defensive player): Jonathan Toews is one of the best two-way forwards in the game and is having another exceptional season for the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. He has 45 points, is plus-21, has a 56.8 percent success rate on faceoffs and is a total pest to play against. Runners-up: Patrice Bergeron, Boston; Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles; David Backes, St. Louis; Ryan Kesler, Vancouver.

 Wild awards: Hart and Vezina: Harding; Norris: Ryan Suter; Calder: Justin Fontaine; Selke: Mikko Koivu; Best newcomer: Nino Niederreiter; Mr. Clutch: Jason Pominville.

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Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 57 3rd Qtr 10:14
Philadelphia 54
Golden State 47 2nd Qtr 4:08
Brooklyn 49
Phoenix 28 2nd Qtr 9:04
Miami 34
LA Clippers 17 1st Qtr 5:00
Minnesota 14
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Dallas
Nashville 0 2nd Prd 8:57
NY Rangers 2
Carolina 7:30 PM
Chicago
Montreal 9:00 PM
San Jose
Virginia 42 2nd Half 12:13
Syracuse 31
Baylor 37 2nd Half 11:22
Texas 34
SE Louisiana 31 2nd Half
Northwestern St 44
Central Arkansas 26 2nd Half
Sam Houston St 33
Norfolk State 12 1st Half 14:19
Howard 7
Bethune-Cookman 17 1st Half 3:53
NC A&T 28
Hampton 8 1st Half 15:27
Delaware State 8
Lamar 19 1st Half 11:01
McNeese State 18
Nicholls 17 1st Half 11:51
New Orleans 6
Incarnate Word 14 1st Half 8:52
Stephen F Austin 18
Prairie View 7:30 PM
Alabama State
NC Central 7:30 PM
Savannah State
Texas Southern 7:55 PM
Alabama A&M
Oklahoma 8:00 PM
Iowa State
Grambling St 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Boston College 8:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Jackson State 8:10 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 30 2nd Half 3:24
Alabama State 58
Jackson State 50 2nd Half 8:00
Ark-Pine Bluff 59
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 60 2nd Half 7:39
Cincinnati 47
(1) Connecticut 70 2nd Half 11:30
South Florida 49
UCF 43 2nd Half 9:59
East Carolina 54
Central Conn St 34 2nd Half 11:11
Bryant 37
Wagner 46 2nd Half 9:33
Robert Morris 48
Sacred Heart 68 2nd Half 6:30
Fairleigh Dickinson 69
St Francis-NY 71 2nd Half 1:50
Long Island 44
Mount St Marys 58 2nd Half 13:47
St Francis-PA 58
Temple 7 1st Half 11:27
Houston 8
Texas Tech 7 1st Half 12:47
(6) Baylor 18
Iowa State 11 1st Half 11:20
Kansas 12
SMU 9 1st Half 8:50
Memphis 11
Oklahoma 4 1st Half 12:20
Oklahoma St 8

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