The Crosby Show, My Calder Picks, Sykora Trade, and More

The Crosby Show is becoming quite a soap opera.

My Calder picks of the first half of the season and who won….

Petr Sykora is finally dealt to the team he wanted to play for back in December.

Does that trade open the doors for other ones? Most likely.

Also… hope you all had a happy Hockey Day up there in Canada, but I’d like to share one quote from Larry Brooks with the Canadians on here.For the first time in a while, I actually disagree with Don Cherry about Kovalchuk’s action towards Crosby. Yes, I am just going to start off this way. I am completely not disturbed by Ilya Kovalchuk’s action towards the “”””Next”””” One.

Here is an 18-year-old kid who has been spoiled by the mass majority of the media ever since he was 16 years old. Of course, I don’t blame Crosby and his……big ego-like actions. The kid has been spoiled by everyone. I like his attitude, he has the character of a star, but he is just an 18-year-old with a ridiculous “A” on his jersey.

This Sid Kid even spoke out against the vets on the team about work ethic. I’m sorry, but who the hell does this youngster think he is to speak out against over 30 vets? You just don’t do it. The guy whines to the refs, constantly, and he was even pegged as a diver by the Philadelphia Flyers.

I am not questioning his abilities, nor am I blaming Crosby. It’s not his fault, but it’s the fault of whoever spoiled him to an extent where he already thinks he is the Next One. This guy has LOTS to prove before even being called the Next One. Talent alone does not make you a Great Player. There is so much more to that, and in my opinion…. Sid Kid does not even have half the class that Wayne Gretzky had at his age.

Here is an 18-year-old kid marked as such a hot shot, such a star…. and a player like Kovalchuk in his early 20′s should react to that. Hey, Kovalchuk is proven world class talent and when he sees a teenager acting in such ways… then he, as the star of his team (especially ever since Heatley left), has the right to show this youngster to stay in his place. And, that place is… being a rookie. Crosby is no world class player. He is not a captain, he is not a proven anything. So, my message to Sidney Crosby is…. SHUT UP AND PLAY. I guess he still needs to mature a lot…. which results in, he should not be wearing an A, nor should he be acting as if he was a hot shot who has been playing for years.

MY CALDER WINNER OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON IS:

Alexander Ovechkin

Here is a true world class rookie at just 20 years of age. On pace to nearly score 100 points this season, Ovechkin is playing on a team with no talent. Not even enough talent for a decent 2nd line. Yet this guy is leading the Caps all the way to future success. You have to admire a young Russian coming over to the US Capital and playing with heart, demanding an English speaking roomate to learn English, and who plays hockey that compliments North American style of play. He hits, he fights in the corners… and is just pure awesomeness. Alexander Ovechkin wins my vote for Calder Trophy winner in the first half of the season.

Of course, I had other picks in mind. In second place is Dion Phaneuf. Of course, he’d be battling this position with Brent Seabrook, who is on the IR. But Phaneuf is a reason why the Flames are going to the playoffs. This is one part of the voting process for the Calder Trophy. You MUST consider how the rookie effects the team. I’d have Phaneuf as Calagry’s #1 defenseman already, and I still believe he will be the best defenseman for the next decade. He is leading this team to the playoffs, and he will be a reason why they have a shot at the Stanley Cup. Had Ovechkin not been this good, Phaneuf would be the winner.

In third place is New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. The team that was marked as last in the NHL by Sports Illustrated, almost dead last by my favorite journalist Erik Duhatschek, and pretty much as a definite non-playoff team all-around the hockey world, is led by the best rookie goalie of the year, Henrik Lundqvist.

He is 23-years-old, but has proven himself as an excellent starting goalie in all levels of the game, and is trying to prove himself in the NHL. So far, he is on the right path. His numbers are mind-boggling.

15-5-5, 2.06 GAA, and an outstanding .929 Save Percentage.

Those numbers are rare to find in a rookie goalie playing for a team that really should not be in the playoffs. Yet he is giving the team a chance to win every game. The fans already praise him. He is the star of the Rangers, and I would not be surprised if he is favored more than Jaromir Jagr is. Lundqvist came in really close to Phaneuf, nearly a tie, as both players are leading their teams into the playoffs.

And in fourth place is Sidney Crosby. At his young age, he could also reach 100 points, though he also has offensive help on his team, Crosby is proving a lot of talent and superb abilities to really become an elite NHL player. Aside from his ego, this guy will bring the Penguins back to where Penguins hockey should be. Exciting, competitive, and full of skill. Though the Pens are playing better with Coach Therrien, Crosby still has the better linemates than Ovechkin does. To put him ahead of Phaneuf and Lundqvist would also be unfair as those two are leading their teams to the playoffs, is Crosby? No. Did I expect him to? No. But for now, Crosby is a few levels under Ovechkin. Still, the Sid Kid has what I like to call… unlimited potential…. he could improve in all apsects of thee game. Scoring, playmaking, toughness, and leadership.

Petr Sykora is back in the metro area, but on the other side of the River; now playing for the team he used to call his rivals back in the 90′s. As reported by Larry Brooks today, Petr Sykora called Glen Sather, on December 10 (permitted by Burke), and told him he’d like to play for the Rangers. Obviously, when you have a proven scorer who wants to play for your team, you ought to show interest in him.

Surely, you could call this a Czech squad and that is kind of lame to have a team of many Czech players. However, the ideology was correct in the first place. Aside from the comments stating that Jagr was kept “happy” by signing Malik, Straka, and Rucisnky, the idea to bring in chemistry in the New NHL where the rules compliment their play was smart. These guys know how to play without the two-line pass rule, and they do well with it in the NHL. Adding a Czech player who is great friends with Straka means added chemistry, and especially it means adding a motivated scorer.

The Rangers needed another scorer, no doubt about that even if Straka is starting to find the net, and Petr Prucha is having a great rookie campaign scoring 20 goals in just 36 games. They need help on the power-play, and Jagr needs to get some weight off his back.

The Rangers are closer to making the playoffs, and though before I was never sure to say that the Rangers will make the playoffs, now I would expect them to make it. With the impressive goaltending of Lundqvist, to solid defense, solid penalty kill, and pretty good scoring, the Rangers add a stronger 2nd scoring line, which means…. they could possibly become a tough playoff team.

Surely, this means that other teams in the Eastern Conference, especially the division rivals, will start exploring their options for trade.

The Devils have turned things around since Patrick Elias’s comeback, but it does not mean that they will be ok now. They need to make some moves to clear up some salary, specifically Mogilny’s. Scotty Gomez may be a tradebale asset, and I would expect him to be the player most sought after by other teams.

The Islanders are falling deeper, and you know Mad Mike will pull some crazy deal sooner or later, especially with both of his goalies injured. Niinimaa could be as good as gone, but that is not the kind of player that other teams would want from the Isle’s. The Isle’s are in need of offense and defense, so it is hard to think what kind of player(s) Mad Mike would be looking to get. Obviously Brad Richards is the prime forward to acquire, but at what price? No one can take a good guess what the Isle’s will trade, and what they will acquire, but it is certain that they must make a trade soon if Milbury wants to stay in the playoff picture.

The Panthers will be looking to make some kind of minor trade. GM Keenan said he will be evaluating his team after their January road trip to see what kind of changes could be made. Surprisingly, Jacques Martins dismissed the idea of bringing in Alexander Mogilny. No, Olli Jokinen is not on the block, at least… not until the Trade Deadline, and so it is tough to tell what kind of trade Keenan would make. I think there could be a minor trade within the month of January for the Panthers, but I think the big day for Keenan is during the Trade Deadline Week/Day to make the big changes, possibly Roberto Luongo being one.

We are halfway through the season folks, and general managers are looking to have a better 2nd half with changes to their rosters. I’d expect trades to happen this month and definitely after the Olympics.

Annnnnd…. hope you all enjoyed Hockey Day in Canada, for all you good Canadians out there. I understand this is a big year for Canadians to vote, plus the Olympics…. so… all is big up there in Canada, and congratulations to the underdog Canadian Junior team that won the gold medal by beating the much hyped US and Russian teams.

I got to hear something very unfortunate though. And… John Davidson was very upset about this, as were many others…. both Canadians but especially Americans. What is with the booing of the US National Anthem? When I went to watch the Habs play against the Panthers…. they cheered the US Anthem! I mean, I doubt they would boo it in Sunrise, Florida. But, why boo it in the first place?

Is it political? Just hatred? What? It is just pure and pathetic ignorance. If you have something personal against a country, fine… boo inside your heart and mind and express your opinions elsewhere. But, what are you proving by booing?

This is something that I will be cautious of once the Olympics start in my home country of Italy. If my fellow countrymen dare to boo at the US or any other country’s national anthem, I will not only feel embarrassed…but I will blast them.

This is a sport, a game… and when two countries play the game of hockey, especially when they are neighbors, then they spend it together. It’s the time to push everything else aside and enjoy the game… have beer, eat … laugh, cheer… chant.

But anyway, I just would like to see respect. There is a lot of good that Canada does to the US, and a lot of good that US does to Canada. We have similar cultures, we speak the same language…. with some minor differences in pronounciation! Let’s just share good moments when playing hockey.

So… I was very saddened by that news that evening, and I must admit that Larry Brooks of the NYPost had a good statement in his article the other day which said…:

“Finally, yesterday was Hockey Day in Canada. Wonder how the fans stayed interested without an American team to boo.”

That’s a good statement, but it’s a sad reaction. It’s a well deserved jab at the ones who showed disrespect…. but it’s just sad to see such crap take involvement in the world of hockey.

God Bless Canada, God Bless the USA… we’re good hockey fans, we love beer… let’s enjoy the game.

Thanks for reading,

Micki Peroni