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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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 77 4th Qtr 9:50
Philadelphia 83
Houston 62 3rd Qtr 8:46
Boston 48
Portland 53 3rd Qtr 8:33
Atlanta 55
Sacramento 44 3rd Qtr 12:00
Cleveland 55
Toronto 70 3rd Qtr 9:56
Brooklyn 57
Dallas 18 2nd Qtr 6:27
Miami 24
LA Clippers 42 2nd Qtr 4:13
New Orleans 47
Golden State 8:00 PM
Utah
Chicago 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Pittsburgh 0 3rd Prd
New Jersey 0
St. Louis 2 3rd Prd 19:31
Carolina 2
Nashville 8:00 PM
Colorado
Buffalo 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Chicago 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 50 2nd Half 0:45
Canisius 57
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 77 2nd Half 2:05
Manhattan 81
Marist 61 2nd Half 0:28
Niagara 59
Dartmouth 51 2nd Half 1:11
Penn 54
Oregon 34 2nd Half
Arizona State 29
Yale 35 2nd Half
Columbia 32
Monmouth 29 2nd Half
Fairfield 22
IUPUI 27 2nd Half
Western Ill 28
Oregon State 9:00 PM
Arizona
Kent State 9:00 PM
Buffalo
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Elon 54 2nd Half 2:05
James Madison 86
(9) Florida State 81 2nd Half 0:44
Georgia Tech 58
Loyola-Chicago 53 2nd Half 1:11
Southern Ill 58
Georgetown 20 1st Half 0:12
DePaul 48
Villanova 34 1st Half 2:10
Marquette 25
Wichita State 29 2nd Half
Northern Iowa 12
Xavier 28 2nd Half
Creighton 38
Bradley 34 1st Half 0:31
Illinois State 24
Missouri State 42 2nd Half
Drake 49
Arizona 8:00 PM
Utah
(11) Arizona State 8:00 PM
Colorado
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