Ovechkin the clear favourite

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:46 PM ET

I have always been a big defender of Sidney Crosby, even as detractors seem to be lining up to bash the 18-year-old star.

He's an immense talent and a player who will likely end up as one of the NHL's all-time leading scorers and a Hall of Famer if he remains healthy throughout his career. Scoring titles, MVPs and Olympic glory are all in his future.

But his chances of winning the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year in 2006 pretty much went up in smoke this week.

That's because Washington's Alexander Ovechkin did something so remarkable to highlight his brilliant rookie season that few hockey fans will ever forget it.

Ovechkin's almost indescribable goal on Monday night -- you may have seen him falling down, rolling over, twisting his stick over his head and somehow putting the puck in the net about eight million times by now on the highlight reels -- has everyone in the hockey world buzzing.

Alexander the Great scored the kind of goal legends are made of. He's having the kind of season no rookie has had since Teemu Selanne weaved his magic in Winnipeg.

Ovechkin is on pace to get 60 goals and 109 points this year. That would tie for the second highest rookie scoring total and would be the second highest freshman goal total in history.

He might even get consideration for the Hart Trophy at this rate.

And Sid the Kid?

His numbers are none too shabby for a teenager. He's on pace for 40 goals and 92 points. He could get that up to 100 points if he has a great second half. Only five players in NHL history have done that, and they include names like Selanne, Stastny, Hawerchuk and Lemieux.

But the debate that is a hotter topic than the Canadian election this season has always been: "Who's better right now? Crosby or Ovechkin?

This week, the polls took a huge jump in Ovechkin's favour.

TOLD YA! I hate to say I told you so, but I'll do it anyway. You can't switch intensity on and off like a light bulb, as the Indianapolis Colts found out after letting their collective foot off the gas pedal during their pursuit of perfection.

The Colts had everything working for them in the first 13 games of the NFL season, including momentum. As soon as they clinched home field throughout the playoffs, they let up, and their dreams of perfection, the Super Bowl or even one measly playoff victory disappeared in the blink of an eye.

The tragedy surrounding coach Tony Dungy, the fact that the Colts offensive line was putrid and the fact that "some drunk kicker" thought the goalposts were in the corner of the end zone all played a role in the Indy loss.

But the intensity and momentum that were missing since Week 15 were the biggest factors.

Don't say we didn't warn you.

HOLD YOUR HORSES: It's great to hear the city buzzing about the possible return of NHL hockey, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'm on the record as saying it can and will happen at some point, but I felt better about the chances of Pittsburgh Penguins coming here before Thursday's announcement that the team is for sale, with conditions ... Heard a great new nickname for the Colts quarterback after he threw his offensive line under a bus for their performance against the Steelers: Peyton Moaning ... Speaking of buses, Jerome Bettis looked about as safe as Winnipeg Transit has been recently on that last play ... You gotta forgive Antonio Davis of the New York Knicks for rushing into the stands when someone was harassing his wife. Especially if he thought the dude was Karl Malone ... We're not making this up: the San Francisco Giants team dentist is named Les Plack ... Introducing Brian Berard, also known as the tip of the iceberg ... Two things I never would have believed if I hadn't seen them with my own eyes: CFL owners agreeing on a salary cap and a flock of oinkers flying in formation over my house ... How much work can it possibly be to carry the flag at the Olympics? The way Canadian athletes are talking, the thing must be made of lead.


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