Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby Closing in on MVP

Mar 15, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 15, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

This season’s race for the Hart Memorial Trophy is intense, but Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still probably has the most solid chance to take it home.

The league’s MVP award doesn’t always simply go to the highest scorer or the best player on the first place team. By definition, the Hart Trophy is handed out to the player “judged to be the most valuable to his team.”

There are a number of different factors that could make a player valuable to his team. Looking at Sidney Crosby this season, it’s arguably pretty easy to see that he fills out a number of these factors, and should have more than a decent shot at winning MVP.

Just Look at the Stats

It’s no surprise. Sidney Crosby is among the league leaders this season in points and goals. With 37 goals and 40 assists for 77 points in 64 games, he is tied for first in the league with Brad Marchand in goals, and is third in point scoring.

Now you may say “he’s not first in points so what does it matter?” Well if you look at who’s ahead of him in points, it’s only Connor McDavid and Brad Marchand. Out of these two, Brad Marchand may be the only threat, since he is also leading the league in goals. McDavid is leading the league in assists and points. I really don’t think that will be enough to match up with the prospect of leading the league in goals and points. Most people value goals over assists anyways, no matter how crucial.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

Dominant Despite Injuries

The Penguins have been struggling with injuries all season. They lost key players like Kris Letang, Carl Hagelin, Patric Hornqvist, and Olli Maatta. You’d expect these players’ absences to harshly bring down the team. I mean they are key pieces after all.

But the Penguins, and especially Sidney Crosby, took this challenge upon themselves and proved that injuries won’t stop them from shining. They are fighting for the President’s Trophy for first in the league currently, and probably the biggest reason for this is because of Crosby’s strong play.

Being the captain he is as always, he is truly stepping up this seasoning and leading his team. No other player in the Hart race has had to deal with injury issues on their team as much as Crosby has this season. Crosby dealt with them, while keeping the Penguins as a top team in the entire league. If that doesn’t prove how valuable he is to his team, I don’t know what does.

 The Key to Winning

Let’s face it, Crosby is a winner. No matter the team he’s on, he makes them win.

With that said, why should he win MVP right now when a player like Brad Marchand is leading the league in both goals and points? Well it’s because, like I mentioned before, Crosby is impacting his team in a larger way than Marchand. The key word in most valuable player is valuable. Yes, the Penguins are the current Stanley Cup winning team, but they are missing a lot of key pieces and many players have been inconsistent. Crosby has not been inconsistent and he has brought them unreal success.

With all due respect to Brad Marchand, he is having an unreal season. I think the MVP race will ultimately come down to three players. Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and Brad Marchand.

Crosby and McDavid are the faces of this league, so this is no surprise. Marchand has heated up very quickly recently, which is great surprise for this season. The race is going to be so close come season’s end.

But like I keep reiterating, I think it all comes down to winning. And Crosby is WINNING in that regard too–no pun intended.

Is an injured Penguins team that can very much be in shambles without their star player much better than the current Edmonton Oilers or Boston Bruins? I think that’s what it comes down to. Crosby is a difference maker, much like the other two, but his difference is another step above theirs.

His value in this regard is higher than the other two this season. I don’t know what will happen as the season comes to it’s close, but Crosby’s MVP fortunes are in his hands now. He can close in fast if he steps up to the plate.

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