Starkey: Awards Time After Astounding Penguins Season

By: Joe Starkey
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Marc-Andre Fleury

(Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — One of the most unbelievable seasons in Penguins history ended Wednesday night. Random thoughts …

Best Moment: The Penguins and Washington Capitals taking the ice at the Winter Classic. Having been to Super Bowls, the Olympics and the World Series, I have never witnessed a sporting moment grander than two hockey teams walking onto the ice amid 65,000 roaring fans. Incredible.

Worst Moment: Though nobody knew it at the time, it was David Steckel’s hit on Sidney Crosby in that very same game — the hit that basically ruined the Penguins’ season.

Best Save: Marc-Andre Fleury on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Pavel Kubina in the second period of Game 7. Fastest glove in the East.

Biggest Surprise: Team netting 106 points despite Crosby and Evgeni Malkin missing for months.

Top Newcomer: Zbynek Michalek

Worst Newcomer: Alexei Kovalev

MVP: Fleury

Most Improved Player: Mark Letestu (before the playoffs)

Biggest Disappointment: James Neal’s goal output (two in 27 games, if you were scoring at home — and if you were, you scored almost as much as Neal).

Best Hit: Brooks Orpik basically breaking Steven Stamkos in-half in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Best Punch: With all due respect to Deryk Engelland destroying Taylor Pyatt and Colton Orr, this award goes to Brent Johnson. Ask Rick DiPietro’s cheekbone for details.

Best Game: Double overtime versus the Lightning

Worst Game: Islanders assault

Feel free to add your own categories and awards in the comments section below …

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