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Crosby's presence at NHL Awards is becoming routine

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Penguins

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - The NHL Awards has become a nearly annual event for Pens captain Sidney Crosby. So much so that he may as well mark it in his calendar every year. 

For the latest installment, Crosby, who posted 100 points (35G-65A) in the 2018-19 season, has been nominated for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the player voted to be most valuable to his respective team.

It is the third time in the last four years that Crosby has been a finalist for the award, and the fifth time in the previous seven seasons. 

"It's an honor. It's great to be nominated. It's always an honor to be here," Crosby said on the red carpet prior to Wednesday night's award show. "That's not what you play for every night, but when you're part of that conversation and in that group it's always a compliment and honor. You look at the years that Connor and Nikita had, it was dominant years. To be part of that group is an honor."

Connor and Nikita would be Edmonton's Connor McDavid and Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov. They are the other two players nominated for the award. 

McDavid, who won the Hart Trophy in 2017, had a career-high 41 goals, 75 assists and 116 goals. Kucherov won the NHL scoring race with a career-best 128 points along with 41 goals and a league-leading 87 assists. 

Being that the Awards take place in Vegas, perhaps there is a bet amongst the trio for whom will come away with the award. 

"I don't have a bet," Crosby smiled. "But I'd like to think 128 is a pretty solid year. I'd like to think he's got a pretty good chance." 

Crosby, 31, was prophetic in his claim as Kucherov walked away with the coveted hardware (Crosby finished second in voting). Though he didn't win his third Hart Trophy, Crosby was a feature during the show. From getting "tackled" by host Kenan Thompson to being interviewed by Tony Babcock. 

Following the awards Crosby will return to his home in Nova Scotia to continue training and preparing for next season. In the meantime, he'll enjoy his time in Vegas with his fellow hockey brethren. 

"It's good to see the guys. You see some familiar faces with different events like this, obviously we compete hard against each other during the year," Crosby said. "Off the ice everyone likes to talk shop and catch up. It's always good to see everyone. 

"The hockey world is so small. Whether it's World Championships, All-Star Games, you play with a lot of these guys already at some point and against them, too. You get to know them. It's nice to catch up in a different atmosphere and not in an intense game." 

Crosby arrived in Vegas on Tuesday fresh off of a five-week trip through Europe that saw stops in Spain, England, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. 

"I bounced around," Crosby said. "I drove a lot of it. It's interesting. It's part of the experience, I guess. I spent a lot of time there last summer and enjoyed it. I had a little more time this offseason to be able to do it. I was able to train there so it worked out well. 

"It was a long offseason. A lot of time to think about the end of the season and getting ready for next year."

And in next year's offseason, perhaps Crosby will plan yet another trip to Vegas. 

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