Dan Di Sciullo, NHL Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
When Sidney Crosby walked away from the NHL Awards ceremony this week, he did so with a few hundred pounds of trophies.
After being denied the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in 2005-06, Crosby cleaned house hardware-wise in his sophomore season. When the night was over, the Pittsburgh Penguins phenom was the proud owner of the Hart and Art Ross trophies and the Lester B. Pearson award.
As the NHL's scoring leader in 2006-07, Crosby already knew he had the Art Ross Trophy, but what really made his night was winning the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player. The Pearson is also a prestigious award since it goes to the NHL's MVP as voted by the NHL Players Association.
Crosby, who will turn 20 in August, is the youngest player ever to win an NHL scoring title and is now the second youngest person to be named MVP of the league. Wayne Gretzky was five months younger than Crosby when he won his first of nine Hart Trophies in 1980. Crosby is the youngest player ever to win the Pearson.
"It kinda hits you right away when you win," said Crosby. "Any honor is a privilege, I can't rank them, it's a great accomplishment. Getting recognition from the guys you play against each and every night is special, these guys are part of the NHL family. I'm not going to say that the Hart doesn't mean more with the writers here."
Crosby is the seventh player in NHL history to win the Pearson, Ross and Hart in the same season, a feat that was last achieved in 2004 by Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Sidney Crosby is the seventh player in NHL history to win the Pearson, Ross and Hart in the same season.
Now the trick for Crosby is to take these personal accolades and turn them into a Stanley Cup title. Not that it has to happen right away, after all, "The Great One" had four Hart Trophies before winning the Cup in 1984, a year in which he also won his fifth straight MVP award.
This year should be a great learning experience for "Sid the Kid". He led the league in scoring, was the best player during the regular season and was still knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.
That early postseason exit is not surprising since the Penguins still have quite a few pieces to land before they become a true Cup contender. However, a competitor of Crosby's level should feel a bit unsatisfied with the overall season, after all, he knows that the truly great players are judged not by regular-season awards, but by postseason performances.
That's not to take anything away from the amazing campaign this teenager has put together, but rather an attempt to understand how Crosby himself might perceive the accolades.
Every time Crosby touches the ice it's obvious how strongly he wants to win and he has certainly done his part to help the Penguins in that regard. It's not like putting up triple digits in points every year can hurt your team, but you get the sense that this youngster will work harder to justify the awards he won on Thursday night.
Crosby will certainly have a great deal of pressure on him next season, not just because of the awards, but also because the Penguins named him the team captain just a few weeks after the club was knocked out in the first round by Ottawa. Not surprisingly, he's also the youngest captain in the history of the NHL.
The selection of Crosby as team captain did cause a bit of controversy, as many critics believe that he is too young to accept the responsibility. But, Pittsburgh obviously has seen this youngster clear every hurdle placed in front of him so far and the club has no reason to believe he won't rise to this challenge as well.
It's great to see a player arrive on the scene with as much hype as Crosby and then watch as that person somehow exceeds expectations.
"Sid the Kid" has already made a great deal of history in just two years as an NHL player, and the road has hardly begun for the young superstar. The trophies will keep coming for Crosby, but he won't be satisfied until he gets his name on a certain silver cup.