Power Rankings: Red-hot Sidney Crosby powers Penguins to top

Ken Campbell
Sidney Crosby  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Yes, it’s early, but has anyone noticed that Sidney Crosby is on pace to post the highest single-season scoring total in almost two decades? With five assists against Buffalo Saturday, Crosby has seven goals and 24 points in just 13 games, which puts him on a pace for 151 points, which would be the highest total since Crosby’s boss scored 161 points in 1995-96.

Not surprisingly, the Penguins have been dominant of late along with their captain. So for the second straight week, they top thn.com’s Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.)

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Chris Kreider getting reputation as habitual crease crasher

Kreider Price

What makes New York Rangers’ winger Chris Kreider a unique player is his combination of size and speed. At 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 lbs., that same speed also makes him a danger when he comes crashing towards the net.

And, after Sunday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, some are starting to wonder about Kreider’s intentions when he gets close to the crease.

In the contest – a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Oilers – Kreider received a goaltender interference penalty for contact, no matter how incidental, with Edmonton netminder Viktor Fasth: Read more

Suspend him or not: Dustin Byfuglien drills Steve Downie with a late hit

Adam Proteau
Dustin Byfuglien (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

No matter where he plays other than his home arena, Penguins winger Steve Downie is far from the most beloved NHLer on the ice at any given time. But even Downie didn’t deserve the dangerous hit Jets blueliner Dustin Byfuglien put on him Thursday in Winnipeg.

Downie had just come out of the penalty box to score on a breakaway at make it 3-1 for Pittsburgh when Byfuglien all but threw him into the end boards long after the puck had crossed the goal line: Read more

From Miller to Malkin, the best of the early season streaks

Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Under new coach Bill Peters, the Hurricanes stumbled out of the gate and lost their first nine games before finally getting Peters his first NHL win. Just when they seemed poised for that first victory, they’d have it snatched out from under their feet. It wasn’t great to watch.

But there are some of the best streaks. This is not a list of futility, but rather a list of incredible stretches from the first month of the 2014-15 season: Read more

Pittsburgh extends Marc-Andre Fleury; pressure ratchets up on goalie

Ryan Kennedy
Marc-Andre Fleury (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

There is always a “yeah, but” when people speak of Marc-Andre Fleury. No doubt the Pittsburgh Penguins goalie has accomplished a lot during the regular season in his career and let’s not forget that he was the netminder of record when the Pens last won the Stanley Cup in 2009, but…he plays on a team with two of the best players on the planet and more parades were expected by this point. So with Pittsburgh signing the affable goalie to a contract extension today, things just got a little more real.

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Rumor Roundup: Could Pittsburgh’s Paul Martin get Chris Stewart out of Buffalo?

Chris Stewart

This season could be the last for defenseman Paul Martin as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 33-year-old blueliner will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, leading some observers to suggest he might not finish the season with the Penguins.

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson notes Martin lost his power-play spot to youngster Olli Maatta, and wondered if the Penguins will bother to re-sign him or deal him before his UFA eligibility. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun also took note of Martin’s reduced role. He speculates the blueliner will be gone before the deadline, but not before Maatta returns from his upcoming surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his neck. Read more

Power Rankings: Perennially powerful Penguins perfect pick for No. 1

Ken Campbell
Pittsburgh Penguins  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Consider this: The Pittsburgh Penguins scored two power play goals in a game recently, and it brought their power play percentage down. The Penguins are the class of the league right now and the only thing keeping them from the top of the standings is the fact they’ve only played 10 games so far.

Going into a five-game road trip that starts Tuesday night in Minnesota, the Penguins have scored 15 unanswered goals and chalked up consecutive shutouts. When defenseman Olli Maatta misses Tuesday night’s game to have a tumor removed from his thyroid, it will be the first game missed by any Penguins player this season.

And that is why the Penguins find themselves at the top of thn.com’s Power Rankings this week. (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.)

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Marian Hossa hits 1,000 points, but is he a Hall of Famer?

Chicago Blackhawk Marian Hossa scores on the wraparound

When Marian Hossa scored the 1,000th point of his career Thursday night, my first inclination was to put him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. After all, he already has two Stanley Cups (and possibly more to come) and he’s one of the best two-way players of his era.

Good enough for me. But then again, the Hall of Fame should be for the truly special players, not just the very good ones. And that’s where the decision around Hossa becomes a little more vexing.

Is Hossa a very good player, or truly a great player? As THN senior editor and Hall of Fame expert Brian Costello points out, 1,000 points is now more of a milestone than a Hall of Fame barometer. And there are currently 19 Hall of Fame eligible players who scored 1,000 points during their careers and who are not in the hall. With 466 career goals so far, Hossa is a shoo-in for the 500 mark and that’s where it starts to get a little more interesting. There are only seven players who have scored 500 who are eligible for the Hall of Fame and are not in there. Read more