The NHL season can appear like a mountain. At instances the mountain feels like climbing Everest but at the halfway issue, to seem back, it appears to be like a flash. The November crash and the Oct surge are distant recollections as the Pittsburgh Penguins concentrate rests squarely on the future six months. Sunday will be Recreation 42 and the official commencing of the second fifty percent of the season, even if the All-Star sport isn’t for a few weeks. And so it is time to dish the Penguins mid-season awards and duds.
Depart your personal in the feedback part under.
MVP: Sidney Patrick Crosby
Crosby has been on rails since the very first puck dropped in Oct. Jake Guentzel, who is maturing, has assisted Crosby’s quantities. Remember the metric ton of wasted possibilities from Crosby wingers last season, in contrast the relative absence of disappointment in that regard, this season.
Crosby is on speed for 100 details. He has 50 details (19g, 31a) in 41 crew games and 37 games performed. As other Penguins stars have scuffled and stumbled, Crosby has charged forward. If not for the outstanding speed established by Tampa Bay winger Nikita Kucherov and Colorado linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, who are every around 60 details scored, Crosby would be in the center of the Art Ross conversation.
Crosby also shuts down the opposition’s leading line on most nights, even though the Penguins have assigned Matt Cullen and linemates to help out often.
2nd position: Casey DeSmith
If that selection looks odd, simply just question the question–Where would the Penguins season be if DeSmith had not been stellar and from time to time magnificent? This could have been a lost season, pretty quickly. DeSmith did not just maintain the fort, he gained the battles and posted a conserve percentage always around .920.
Greatest Thud: Derick Brassard
Brassard is a person of the most talented, effective players on the Penguins roster. The very first fifty percent? 1 to forget about. Just lately, Brassard and Phil Kessel are efforting to make the third line go. Nonetheless, it is nonetheless stuck in neutral. Brassard has 12 details (6g, 6a) in 32 games. A 30-issue speed is not turning into a participant of his talent.
While Kessel has been ready to gobble up energy-engage in details, Brassard has been dry. He’s way too very good to be this much of a non-component.
2nd position: Daniel Sprong
The Penguins coaches gave Sprong every option in schooling camp and preseason. He can hint that he did not get a shot. Supporters can howl that he did not get a shot. He obtained a shot.
And his fourth line work was so uneven that it submarined the full line. Because Sprong’s departure, the fourth line has become the Penguins shutdown line which occasionally guards the opposition’s top line and is contributing offense. It’s no longer the Penguins shutdown line which stifles their personal offense.
Greatest Surprise: Kris Letang
The shock isn’t that Letang is taking part in properly. A fast seem in schooling camp was all that was essential to see Letang was much healthier than last season. The shock is how very good his general sport has been.
We praised it last night in the PHN Further Report Card. He’s building very good reads, easy plays and being within the sport in its place of attempting to do way too much.
Norris Trophy nomination. Possibly he won’t beat Mark Giordano, who is also acquiring a 12 months in Calgary, but Letang is deserving to be a finalist.
Worst Fan Acquire: Matt Cullen is Too Old
That was Cullen, 42, guarding Mark Schiefele, Friday night. Just as Cullen has successfully guarded leading traces of Washington, Toronto, Carolina…and more. Cullen has 10 details in 30 games, which places him on a 25-issue speed which is just about even with the substantial-traveling 32-issue he posted all through the Penguins back-to-back Stanley Cup operates.
Other than now Cullen is also defending All-Star players.
Finest Fan Acquire: Give Phil Time
Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin effectively imploded with each other. Each of their games went to hell and back. Kessel essential a small kick in the pants, which head coach Mike Sullivan supplied on Dec. 22. Because, Kessel has been the very good Phil. His new nine-details in 3 games outburst established anything suitable.
His engage in around the earlier few games at 5v5 has proven effort and hard work and “want-to,” even as he and Derick Brassard battle to figure it out.
Worst PHN Acquire: Wanting to know Aloud if Kessel’s Time was Up in Pittsburgh
Oh, Kessel earned a few spanks for his engage in in December. The Penguins, nonetheless, are married to Phil Kessel. Reviews earlier this season–not from PHN–indicated the Penguins dipped a toe in the Kessel trade waters. But Phil Kessel is a Penguin and in all probability will be for lifestyle.
Relating to hot-normally takes, we’re not touching the Jack Johnson stuff. We’re rather comfortable in our analysis of the scenario and signing, even as the tribe has spoken and doesn’t show up much willing to amend unique normally takes. So, we’ll just write–we’ve viewed more very good from Johnson.
Finest Tale: Bryan Rust
Cmon, a person objective in the very first 29 games, then eight goals in six games. It was enjoyable to see a genuinely very good male like Rust go bonkers on the scoring sheet. He’s undertaking his task on the Crosby line.
2nd position: Shelly Anderson’s story on the prospective of a crew puppy
You can read through it right here if you skipped it on New Year’s Working day.
Emerging: Matt Murray
Murray has gained 7 straight and gained the last 3 with vintage stellar engage in. Murray’s rebound from around 12 months of struggles and adversity could outline the Penguins season. It’s an rising story.