Center Sidney Crosby 1,713,021 votes

As a teenager playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Sidney Crosby was referred to by NHL hall of famer Wayne Gretzky as the kid who will break all his records.

After scoring more then a hundred points in his rookie season, this Cole Harbour native followed it up by becoming the first teenager during his sophomore season to lead any professional league in scoring. (36 goals and 84 assists)

Crosby who is 21 years old, and a 2005 first overall pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins set a record two years ago when with 8,75,783 votes he became the youngest athlete voted in by the fans as a starter. When he stepped onto the ice for that game, he officially became the 11th youngest to play.

Showcasing his skills, Crosby didnʼt need much time to adjust to the NHL as he scored 344 points in his first 250 games to record the sixth highest all time totals after that many games. Wayne Gretzky 537, Mario Lemieux 423, Peter Stastny 403, Eric Lindros 360 and Mike Bossy 345 are the only ones with more points.

Last season, ʽSid The Kidʼ led the NHL with 63 points when on January 18 he suffered a bad ankle injury which disabled him for 28 of the next 31 games and still lingered when he returned. Crosby for the season managed to score in 43 of 53 games, which included registering a point in 19 straight games, which was an NHL best.

Last spring he played a vital role in the Penguins march to the finals by being among the playoff leaders with 21 assists and tied with Detroit Red Wing star Henrik Zetterberg with 27 post season points.

 

This season Crosby has 17 goals 40 assists and 57 points.

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The Boys Are Feuding!

The most intense on- ice rivalry between two talented superstars will commence Wednesday night when the Washington Capitals visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Oddly enough this rivalry, which has turned nasty, involves two former friends in Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin and his former Russian teammate and now Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin.

These two scoring stars have gone from being roommates and good friends at the Turin Olympics three short years ago to bitter enemies, which according to rumors has turned ugly off the ice.

Both players have been evasive about what drove them apart. According to a report two years ago, some Russian websites consisted of some shocking news stating that the 23 year-old Ovechkin threw a punch at Malkin’s agent Gennady Ushakov at a nightclub.

When reached for comment Ovechkin said it wasn’t true while Malkin who leads the NHL in scoring called it a “bad situation.”

For the past couple of years Ovechkin has gone out of his way to hit Malkin. In one instance last year the enthusiastic Capital charged Malkin who ducked in time to miss a heavy check into the boards.

“Ovechkin is a great player, but every time he hits me I don’t know why,” said Malkin who currently leads the NHL in scoring.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has obviously witnessed first hand the intense rivalry between these two and talked about team toughness when addressing what could conspire on Wednesday night.

“Guys on our team have to make sure we stick together and Geno (Malkin) has to make sure he sticks up for himself,” said Crosby.

With the Vancouver Games fast approaching Russian officials are starting to get anxious about the fractured relationship between these two stars who will need to get along on the ice if they have a chance of winning gold.

For now, all the focus will be on these two superstars come Wednesday night as they renew their nasty rivalry.

“We’ll stick up (for Malkin), like you would for any teammate,” Crosby said. “They’re intense, physical games and as long as that’s the way they stay, that’s safe.” “But if there’s deliberate intent to hurt someone, you kind of step outside the line a bit, you have to make sure you stick up for your teammate.”

After Wednesday’s game, these two bitter enemies will next battle on February 22nd and March 8 in Washington.

Brendan Shanahan a Devil…Again

Veteran forward Brendan Shanahan will be coming back to play where his NHL career first began more then 20 years ago.

Shanahan who played the previous two seasons with the New York Rangers and is a proven sniper with 650 career goals has agreed to play with the New Jersey Devils who originally drafted him second overall back in 1987.

 This soon to be 40 year old who has won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings spent the first four years in New Jersey before being traded to the St. Louis Blues. During his illustrious career, which has also included an Olympic Gold Medal in 2002, Shanahan has also played for the Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings and the Rangers before sitting out the first half of this season as an unrestricted free agent.

“Brendan Shanahan has agreed in principle to join the New Jersey Devils,” said GM Lou Lamoriello. “He will begin skating on his own.” “Brendan will join the team at a date to be determined.”

Currently the Devils are in Los Angeles to kick off a vital six game road swing while Shanahan began working out in the New Jersey area.

Pulling no punches, this veteran who has played 1.490 games wanted to stay with the Rangers but held no grudges that he couldn’t continue playing with them.

“I had no desire to leave but it didn’t work out,” he said. “That’s sometimes the way it goes in a salary cap business.” “I had a great two years there.”

Terms of a potential contract weren’t made public or when he will play his first game.

 

Atlanta Thrashers

 

Atlanta Thrashers

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Ilya Kovalchuk Goals 16 Assists 27 Points 43 Grading B

Todd White       Goals 13 Assists 28 Points 41 Grading A

 

Defenceman

Ron Hainsey Goals 5 Assists 17 Points 22 Grading B+

 

 

Comments: Sniper Ilya Kovalchuk has been a little inconsistent this season in the goal- scoring department. A year ago he had 52 and now he is on pace for only 32. 

Forward Todd White has been a pleasant surprise with 41 points at the half way mark. Already he is only one goal away from matching last years total. On defence, Ron Hainsey is on pace for 41 points which would be a career season.

 

THe thrashers have been inconsistant this year and they are not firing on all cylinders. The entire team does not seem to be on the same page and it is only a matter of time for changes to be made. Are Kovalchuk’s days numbered in Atlanta?

 

Team Grade D

Anaheim Ducks

Here is a short breakdown on the Anaheim Ducks. The leading point getters are listed with their grade from the 29 Sports team.

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Ryan Getzlaf Goals 15 Assists 35 Points 50 Grade A

Corey Perry   Goals 10 Assists 26 Points 36 Grade B+

 

Top Defenseman

Chris Pronger Goals 8 Assists 21 Points 29 Grade A

 

Ryan Getzlaf continues to get better every year as he is on pace for his first ever 100 point season. Meanwhile Corey Perry is also on pace for a career season but will need a torrid second half if he is to match the 29 goals from last season. Chris Pronger continues to be a steady influence on the blue line as he is on pace for over 50 points.

 

After a slow start the Ducks are starting to show why they are one of the best teams in the NHL. THere is just too much firepower and great leaders on this team not to go long in the playoffs again this year.

 

Team Grade B