Penguin's Captain Sidney Crosby is Full of Hart

John WhiteContributor IIJune 22, 2010

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 14:  Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins accepts the Hart Memorial Trophy for NHL Most Valuable Player onstage during the 2007 NHL Awards Show at the Elgin Theatre on June 14, 2007 in Toronto, Ontario.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

There's little doubt that Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby deserves the title "Most Valuable." The Penguins' captain tied for the league lead with a career-high 51 goals, marking only the second time in franchise history that a Penguin led the NHL in that category—Mario Lemieux had 69 goals in 1995-96. 

Crosby also led the League in hat tricks (three), was the most proficient player in the shootout (8 for 10) and took (1,791) and won (1,001) the most faceoffs of anyone in the league. While one could argue the three finalists had similar offensive numbers, what makes Crosby's season all the more remarkable is the fact he didn't really have the supporting cast that Ovechkin or Sedin had. Backstrom finished fourth in the League with 101 points, and Daniel Sedin was 12th with 85 points. Crosby also played a bigger role in his team's offense—he was involved in 42.4 percent of his team's scoring, compared to Sedin (41.1 percent) and Ovechkin (34 percent).

Crosby took on an even greater load this season when Evgeni Malkin missed significant time to injury. Let's not forget, While Ovechkin missed 10 games this past season the Caps, incidentally, were 9-1 with Ovechkin out of the lineup.

Crosby finished third in league scoring last season but didn't get nominated for the Hart Trophy, while the Art Ross winner, Malkin, finished runner-up to Ovechkin. At the time, analysts claimed that Malkin didn't win because Crosby was part of the team. That same argument won't work against the Pittsburgh captain this year, since Malkin produced career-low totals.

Expect "The Kid" to bring his second Hart Trophy in four years back to Pittsburgh.