Key Observations Heading Into Game 22 Between the Penguins and Hurricanes


By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)

This Is Not Highlander.  There Can Be More Than One

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among a sub-group of Penguins fans to take sides in this imaginary rivalry between Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  This mostly media-driven rivalry is being hashed out on the battlefields of social media.  For some of you, there can be only one superstar Penguin.  Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin is the greatest hockey player on the planet.  Some of you cannot be a fan of one without attempting to bring down the other.  This is just silly.  There is enough room for both.

It has been my opinion for quite some time that Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world.  Numbers, both traditional and fancy, back me up on that.  However, that does not mean that I do not like Evgeni Malkin.  Why should it?  He plays for the team that I’ve been watching since I was four years old.  He has averaged 1.22 points-per-game over the course of his career, good for fourth all-time among Penguin players.  He’s won the Calder Memorial, Conn Smythe, Hart Memorial, and Art Ross Trophies.  He’s also been given a Ted Lindsay Award.  That’s some pretty serious hardware that adds to the mystique of the franchise.

Sidney Crosby has also won two scoring titles, two Hart Memorial Trophies, three Ted Lindsay Awards, and a Maurice Richard Trophy.  This adds to the greatness of the franchise.  If he stays healthy he will most likely surpass Jaromir Jagr as the team’s second-leading scorer.  He may even surpass Mario Lemieux’s 1,723 points.

Evgeni Malkin will likely pass up Jagr as well.  He has the scoring touch and, despite what you may hear, the consistency to do so.  This means that, at worst, you are currently watching the second and third best players to ever put on a Penguins sweater right now, and you’re bickering over which one is good and which one is not.  Just stop and enjoy the show.  If you don’t, you will look back on these years and regret how much time you wasted not cheering for both of these players.


As they say, all good things must come to end.  With that, I’m sad to say that my time with The PensNation has come to a close.  The last three years of hockey blogging has been great, but it’s time to move onto the next thing.  Before college, I was an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army.  After college, writing about hockey allowed me to fill an analytical void that had opened in my professional life.  Watching games, crunching numbers, and reading player quotes and media reports and using them for later analysis kept my brain working in a way that it had not since Baghdad.  If you’ve read and enjoyed my writing over the years, thank you!

I’ve started a podcast and blog called Hatertots.  If you’re a fan of television, movies (especially the Marvel Cinematic Universe), and other pop culture-y things then give us a listen.  I’ll still be tweeting under the @DarthHockey account (although the name may change eventually).  If you’ve followed me over the years for hockey talk then I hope you will join me as I move into this new phase.  Again, thank you all for reading these posts and conversing with me on Twitter.