Sidney Crosby wasn’t deserving of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2016. Furthermore, he shouldn’t have won MVP of the World Cup of Hockey, yet he got both. So why is that?
Well for starters, his last name and the legacy that surrounded him even before playing his first professional game doesn’t hurt.
Before we go any further I have to admit something. I do not hate Sidney Crosby, nor do I wish harm on him or his career. He is fantastic to the sport of hockey, and if you ask a casual hockey fan to name anyone in the NHL, Crosby will likely be your answer. My problem specifically is that he drags attention away from deserving members of the teams he plays for. While he would never intentionally want this to happen you just cant ignore the writing on the wall, it’s happening, people.
You have to respect the supernatural talent and otherworldly vision Crosby has for the game of hockey. In our generation, only Connor McDavid has the potential to recreate that type of magic and hysteria about one particular player.
Make no mistake, Phil Kessel was the true MVP of the 2016 playoff run. In 24 games, Phil amassed 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points. He was also a plus 5, while his shooting percentage was 10.2% on 98 shots. His line, which was categorized as the “third line” (if you could call Kessel, Bonino and Hagelin third liners), was unstoppable; ultimately comprising the most dominant line in the entire playoffs. Crosby was no slouch in the playoffs either, posting 6 goals and 13 assists for 19 points. However, his truly eye catching stat was the 3 game winning goals. Kessel may have not had a single game winner in the playoffs, but you can’t say the same about his line mates. Hagelin chipped in with one while Bonino slapped two game winners home.
The painting is beginning to paint itself now, isn’t it?
Alongside all of this it would be unfair not to point out the injury troubles Crosby has sustained since winning his first in 2009. Concussions and other attitude related issues plagued the young super star for the vast majority of his career.Embed from Getty Images
A mature and vastly more focused Crosby took on the 2016 playoffs and showed everyone why he is still the leader of his team.Embed from Getty Images
Phil has my playoff MVP vote until the day I die. But you know how far my vote goes.
Still don’t believe me? Watch playoff broadcasts on NBCSN and not TSN or Hockey Night in Canada.
Brad Marchand has certainly come a very long way ever since the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. It was there that he showcased his “agitating” abilities, which to be frank, eclipsed his offensive prowess.
Bruins fans know all too well that the Marchand-Bergeron line combination is one of the best in the game and in 2015-16 they proved it. Marchand scored a career high 37 goals, while Bergeron made his presence known with 32 of his own.
When they were paired up with Sidney Crosby for the World Cup of Hockey, fans young and old looked on in pure amazement.Embed from Getty Images
However, when it mattered the most the one-two punch that is Bergeron-Marchand shined the brightest. Between the two of them the opposition couldn’t get the puck out of their own zone. And with under a minute left in game two of the World Cup final, Marchand scored the game winning, short-handed goal to lift Canada over team Europe.
Earlier in regulation it was Bergeron who tied the game off a high slot tip from Brent Burns. Crosby’s backhanded half way pass allowed Burns to get the shot off, but the tip from Bergeron was a thing of beauty.
Toews and Marchand were faced with killing a late penalty, with under a minute in regulation Toews found Marchand streaking down the slot, getting off just enough of a shot to beat Halak and win the World Cup of Hockey. This proved even more how dangerous Marchand is both 5 on 5 and a man short. Among active NHLers Marchand is fourth in short handed goals with 19 in his career.
Yet again it was Crosby who was honored as the best in a short tournament format. To most he was deserving of the distinction. To some, myself included, Marchand was robbed.Embed from Getty Images
Without Crosby, Canadian hockey would lose the specific touch it has, that magical presence. However, my problem doesn’t lie in the player necessarily as much as it does in the obsession with the player. As stated earlier, that obsession is beginning to take away from the brilliant performances of those who play around him.
Now that is a shame.