Share This Page

Rossi: Crosby takes another star turn in Big Three Battle

What a spectacular season of "Survivor: Art Ross." The breakout star is Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who has spent the past month scoring goals at a previously unseen rate while charging toward the top of the NHL scoring list. During the late-November sweeps period, he literally carried the program with his finest performance in three years.

It's almost as if the star from last season, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, is now a bit player on this program, and the top talent from two years ago, Washington winger Alex Ovechkin, has been reduced to a "special guest appearance."

I can't wait to see how the story line progresses over these next several months.

Spoiler alert: That story line will progress with Crosby scoring at least 45 goals and winning his second scoring title. Malkin and Ovechkin will jostle with one another to finish second.

Sorry viewers in San Jose, New York and Los Angeles; Joe Thornton, Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar are in the process of getting voted off the Art Ross Island.

Dragged out reality TV analogy aside; nobody should be surprised that Crosby has upped the ante in his competition with Malkin and Ovechkin to determine who is the NHL's best offensive player, if not its best overall player. Upping the ante is how these three superstars operate.

Three years ago Crosby's response to Ovechkin's previous 106 point/top rookie season was 120 points to lead the NHL and the Hart Trophy as MVP. Ovechkin answered the next season with 112 points, which won him the scoring title and the first of two straight MVP honors.

By then, Malkin had turned a two-player rivalry into a three-scorer shuffle. His 106 points two years ago ranked only behind Ovechkin, and he finished second in the MVP voting. Last year, Malkin again finished second in that vote, but his 113 points topped the NHL and he was selected as MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

So, by my count, 2006 went to Ovechkin; 2007 to Crosby; 2008 to Ovechkin; 2009 to Malkin, and ...

"Sid will win the scoring title," Malkin said Thursday night after Crosby scored his 12th goal in 11 games, pushing his pace to 54.

"But I'm trying, of course. It's exciting for me."

Crosby, Ovechkin and Malkin have made "Survivor: Art Ross" the most exciting program in professional sports — and it's only getting better.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.