Who said the NHL has gone over completely to the young stars? Pittsburgh Penguins center and captain Sidney Crosby still has it, according to his league brethren, who have voted him one of three finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award as “the most outstanding player.”
Crosby, 33, has won the award (originally dubbed the Lester Pearson Award) three times. The only players in NHL history to win it four times or more are Penguins Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and all-time great Wayne Gretzky.
The finalists this year were announced Wednesday. The others are Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Toronto’s Auston Matthews, two of the top young stars in the league. McDavid is probably considered the favorite. There is no NHL awards show this year. The winners of the annual league awards will be announced during the semifinals and final of the playoffs, with the Lindsay Award winner announced during the final. Specific dates will come later.
A wrap-up of the three finalists’ accomplishments is below, but keep in mind that beyond the black-and-white numbers, Crosby was also a monster defensively this season and dominant all over the ice in helping the Penguins win the East Division. The voting for the award happened before the playoffs.
Here is the description of Crosby’s season from the Penguins’ news release:
Crosby finished the 2020-21 campaign ranked 10th in league scoring with a team-high 62 points (24G-38A) in 55 games, helping Pittsburgh to its 15th-consecutive postseason appearance – the longest active streak among North-American professional sports leagues.
The captain’s 1.13 points-per-game average was 11th highest in the NHL, as he averaged at least a point per game in each of his first 16 NHL seasons. Only Gretzky (19) has started his career with more consecutive point-per-game seasons, and only Gretzky (19) and Gordie Howe (17) have accomplished this feat more than Crosby.
Crosby also had the distinction of hitting the 20-goal plateau for the 13th time in his career, surpassing Mario Lemieux (12) and Evgeni Malkin (12) for the most 20-goal seasons in team history, while also leading the team in points for the 11th time in his career, tying him with Lemieux (11) for most such instances in franchise history.
And here are summaries on the other finalists from the NHL Players Association news release:
AUSTON MATTHEWS, Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews played in 52 of Toronto’s 56 regular-season games to help the Maple Leafs secure first place in the North Division. The 23-year-old forward won his first “Rocket” Richard Trophy by leading the league in goals (41) – scoring eight more than any other player – to become the first Maple Leafs player in 75 years (Gaye Stewart, 1945-46) and the second American (Keith Tkachuk, 1996-97) to win the goal-scoring race. He led the league in even-strength goals (31), placed second in even-strength points (53), while he tied for fifth in the league in points (66) and power-play goals (10). Matthews topped the league in game-winning goals (12) and shots (222), and his career-high average time on ice (21:33) ranked fifth among NHL forwards. A first-time finalist for the TLA, Matthews is looking to become the first Maple Leafs player and second American (Patrick Kane, 2015-16) to receive the award.
CONNOR MCDAVID, Edmonton Oilers
McDavid played in all 56 of Edmonton’s regular-season games to help lead the Oilers to a second-place finish in the North Division. The 24-year-old forward led the league in points (105) to win his third Art Ross Trophy, finishing 21 points ahead of the next highest scorer. He also paced all players in assists (72), points per game (1.88), power-play points (37) and even-strength points (68). McDavid recorded 33 multi-point games, and finished second in goals (33), game-winning goals (11) and even-strength goals (24). He averaged the second-highest time on ice per game (22:09) of his career – fourth among NHL forwards. A two-time TLA recipient (2016-17, 2017-18), and now a four-time finalist (also 2018-19), McDavid is looking to become only the seventh player to receive the award three or more times (following Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby).