Canadian Press: CROSBY ON PACE TO SET CAREER HIGH IN GOALS SCORED
While the Pittsburgh Penguins captain is certainly used to being the hottest player in the NHL, his most recent surge has come in an unfamiliar way. Crosby has 10 goals in as many games for the first time in his NHL career and raised an interesting question in the process - can he score 50 in a season?
Crosby goes on a 10-goal scoring spree, and all of a sudden we're talking 50 goals. Geez.
As a matter of fact, Crosby's not really much of a goal scorer. In each of his NHL seasons, he's scored or in the case of last season scored on pace for 30-something goals. At the moment, he's just coming off a huge points streak. Yes, if he continues a streak like this, he'll score 50. Duh. Anyone who understands anything about hockey knows he won't. It's unlikely Crosby will exceed 50 this year either. It would actually be exceptional if he hit 40 for the first time in his career.
The obvious question is: why is any of this even news? Because Sidney Crosby is the Face of Hockey, and the Official Savior of the NHL. What bullshit.
Items in brief:
* it's good to see somebody agree with me that an all-Habs starting lineup in the All-Star game wouldn't be a bad thing.
* Sean Avery. Sheesh. I didn't think there was any way he could make himself more hated in hockey, but Sean Avery found a way. What he said about Elisha Cuthbert is just, well, sloppy.
And poorly translated into Finnish, I might add. Seriously though, when he called Marty Brodeur fat, I thought he was just making an ass of himself. Now he's just gone too far. Having said that, I agree totally with Ken Campbell's sentiments on the matter.
Also, some not-so-tough guys in the NHL. First up, Milan Lucic. On November 22, the Habs retired Patrick Roy's number and played the Bruins. In the previous game, Lucic dropped the gloves with Mike Komisarek and showboated to the crowd on his way to the box. Unsurprisingly Georges Laraque wanted a word with him. As soon as Guy Carbonneau started putting Laraque on the ice against Lucic, Lucic spent the rest of the game running away from him. Lucic managed to score on a great setup from Phil Kessel, but was invisible for the rest of the game after Laraque started trailing him.
My point? I actually like the way Lucic plays. He looks like he might turn into one heck of a power forward. However, he convinced me of one thing in that game. When it comes to dropping the gloves, he's a pussy. I had a ton of respect for Lucic until I saw him run like a girl from Georges Laraque.
I'm sure some people think it made sense for Lucic to run away like a schoolgirl whenever Laraque got near him. Coach Claude Julien has said he told Lucic not to fight, and I'm sure he did. The thing is, though, Lucic had no impact on the game whatsoever except for his tip-in goal, because he was too busy running from Laraque. He wasn't the impact player he usually is. Is it really tactically wise for him to not fight Laraque, if than means he won't affect the game like he normally does?
At the end of the day, I don't actually care. In my opinion, if you want to be a tough guy, you have to stand up and be counted. Lucic has yet to do that. The only real heavyweight he's fought in the NHL is Raitis Ivanans. I respect that, but it's just not good enough.
As a point of historical interest, here's a YouTube clip of Lucic running away from Laraque last year. Seriously, watch this. He won't even stand next to Laraque on the faceoff.
The only possible conclusion is that Lucic is afraid of Laraque. Again, I don't care if it's tactically smart or whatever to fight. If Lucic wants to play the kind of impact game he does, and make a name for himself as some kind of tough guy, he's going to have to stand up and be counted. Running away from Laraque at every opportunity is just not going to cut it. I respect Lucic as a hockey player; I don't have a shred of respect for him as a fighter. Last season, in games against the Pens, he did fight Jarkko Ruutu, but wouldn't fight Laraque. That's ridiculous.
If you're going to fight, then fight. That means you fight Ruutu and you fight Laraque. If you're not going to fight, don't fight. Ovechkin doesn't fight, and he's the most awesome power forward in the NHL. That's cool. If you're going to be an agitator, then pick your fights. But do one of these things. If you're going to talk tough and act like a fighter but run away from Georges Laraque like a little girl, you'll just make an ass of yourself.
In Lucic's favor, he did fight Raitis Ivanans. Not everyone will, as this week's Leafs-Kings game showed. Minor league goon Andre Deveaux is trying to earn himself a roster spot with the Leafs, and he made his own contribution yesterday by, erm, running away from Raitis Ivanans. Of course, his only fight of the season is a loss to Josh Gratton, so maybe the whole tough guy thing isn't working out for him. So far, he's been a clown.
There's been some discussion on what Brian Burke will do to the Leafs. Some, including bigot-in-chief Don Cherry, maintain he's going to kick all those stinking euros off the team for good and bring in good Canadian boys, like he did in Anaheim. I don't know. Of course, if Burke is clinically insane he'll get rid of those good-for-nothing Euros who make up, what, four of the top five Maple Leafs points scorers, team leaders in goals, plus/minus and game-winning goals. It's obvious those guys are the problem in Toronto; they're just not hitting and fighting enough.
Maybe Burke will quickly dump the likes of Mikhail Grabovski, who's finally living up to the promise he showed on the Belarus national team years ago, Nikolai Kulemin and Alexei Ponikarovsky, not to mention perennial Leafs disappointment Nik Antropov, who is really a disappointment only because Leafs fans had totally unrealistic expectations of him. I'm sure Burke could replace them with, oh, I don't know, Andre Deveaux and other AHL goons. If he did that, then we'd really see a miracle: a Toronto team that does worse then before.
Far be it from me to suggest Don Cherry has completely lost his marbles when it comes to European players, and swaps hockey sense for racism when it comes to roster choices.