With "The Neelies" up over at Hockey Dirt -- the midseason bloggers' picks for the NHL's top awards -- one question: Can somebody give Sidney Crosby some love?
Oh, there are other categories among the Neelies, like Top Jerk, the ballot reading "Sean Avery" and "Other". But it's that rookie race that made me blink and look twice (To view the whole list, go here).
Among the freshmen, Crosby got three per cent compared to Ovechkin's 71 per cent -- which, according to my math, means the Caps phenom outpolled Crosby 22-1. That's not only low, it's freakin' ridiculous. I mean, these two are virtually even in points. Ovechkin has a few more goals (25, to Crosby's 21) and has a greater proportion of his team's offence, while Crosby has toiled in Pittsburgh, where yes, he has a better supporting cast but has also had a host of distractions -- a coaching change, Mario Lemieux's health problems, the Penguins' bleak future in Pittsburgh and a spotlight that never turns off. Martin, Mr. Hockey Dirt his own self, cast the only vote for young Sid -- well done, MT! -- and notes the discrepancy in his postscript.
|STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR|
|It's not like Leaf fans don't do it.|
Okay, Ovechkin got my vote, but it was a close call, really. But Dion Phaneuf and Henrick Lundquist? They're having fine rookie seasons, but they also got four votes apiece and Crosby can manage just one?
Why the landslide? It's surely a holdover from the early backlash in the blogosphere against the immense hype and media attention around him. Then there are the accusations of diving (which can be levelled at a number players in this the year of the new, no-touch NHL -- and at those dratted Russkie juniors, says Pierre McGuire, although when Steve Downie flops he's just a brilliant pest -- and at least in the case of the Flyers have as much to do with gamesmanship from a division rival as anything else. I mean, c'mon, these guys have Peter Forsberg).
The narrow gap between the two clear leaders in the rookie race is going to close, I reckon -- even The Cherry was climbing down from his usual piling on Saturday night (When he wasn't climbing up on the bench in Stephenville to greet his adoring public with a heartfelt "oh, shit" into the open microphone, that is).
No such shockers elsewhere -- Redden for the Norris is a little bit contentious, but Hasek and Jagr got pretty solid nods for the Vezina and Hart, and I was pleased to see my "Retire this Award" show up, Ms Byng deserving to have her jewels returned as we head into this hands-off hockey age -- best among the rest was the Jerk of the Year Neelie, Avery the runaway choice (*yawn* the idea of giving this mediocrity any kind of award, even one acknowledging his ability to commandeer the 24-hour sports news cycle, is kinda numbing. Why not have something for Elisha Cuthbert? Top Whiner? Dumb and Dumber? We could go on and on) over a host of pretenders which included a stalemate between Gary Bettman (six per cent) and Ted Saskin and the NHLPA (three per cent apiece), and one vote for Bob Cole and Harry Neale, for pete's sake.
Anyway, great job putting it together, Martin, and thanks for including us.
One more from the blogs this lovely Monday morning: a Theo Fleury moment, going over the boards and after a fan in Belfast (Nice catch, Vancouver Canucks Op-Ed).