PITTSBURGH – Trevor Linden is still mulling over his options.
The popular Vancouver Canucks centre is expected to retire, but said he hasn’t decided on his playing future. “I’m sitting back and taking it all in right now,” Linden said Wednesday after accepting the NHL’s Foundation Award along with Tampa’s Vincent Lecavalier. “I’m just making sure that everything is right and I make the right decision.
“I’m still going through the process. I’ll take some time here yet.”
New Canucks GM Mike Gillis hasn’t yet approached Linden about his playing future, either.
“No, he hasn’t,” said Linden.
AWARDS DAY: Alexander Ovechkin was formally presented with the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL scoring leader and the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the goal-scoring leader on Wednesday.
The Washington Capitals star had 65 goals and 112 points this season.
He is also in line to win the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player at an awards ceremony next month in Toronto.
“I will be happy, but if not, I will be happy,” the Russian winger said of the prospect of winning the Hart.
Also, Red Wings goalies Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek got the Jennings Trophy for having the lowest goals-against average this season – 2.16.
Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin got the Mark Messier leadership award, while Linden and Lecavalier shared the NHL Foundation Player Award for their work with charities.
OVECHKIN ENVIOUS: Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are the NHL’s top two young stars, but what does the Russian scoring machine think of Crosby’s Penguins playing in the Stanley Cup final?
“Well, I’m a little jealous,” said Ovechkin. “But he’s a great player and they have a great team.”
He also noted that in Crosby’s first time in the playoffs last season, the Penguins lost in five games in the opening round. The Washington Capitals suffered the same fate in Ovechkin’s first trip to the post-season this year.
“I hope next year if will be the same for me and then we’ll be on the same page,” Ovechkin said.
SUNDIN ON LIDSTROM: Mats Sundin says he would be thrilled if his Swedish compatriot Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings became the first European captain to win a Stanley Cup.
“If he would be that, it would be huge – huge for Swedish hockey with so many Swedish players on that Detroit team,” said Sundin. “I think it would open the door for more young Swedish players to be drafted and have a chance to play in the best league in the world.”
OBSTRUCTION DEBATE: Penguins coach Michel Therrien was prodding the officials again on Wednesday morning, this time about the Red Wings’ alleged use of obstruction tactics to keep Pittsburgh shooters away from Osgood’s net.
He was hoping that some hooking and holding calls may free up some space for the Pittsburgh shooters.
“It’s tough to create offence against a team like that because of the obstruction,” Therrien said. “They’re a puck possession team and we are too, but we’re having trouble getting to the puck.
“There’s a lot of obstruction. Hopefully, we’ll get some calls and that will give us a chance to put our power play on the ice.”
After Game 2 on Monday, Therrien and the Penguins accused Osgood of diving.
But neither issue was discussed as the teams met with officials on Wednesday, said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. Most of the talk was about blows to the head, he said.
But what he liked was that the league representatives did the talking and “they weren’t much interested in what we had to say.”
“The league is in charge – I like that,” said Babcock. “We have great refs and they’ll do everything they can to make it right. They’re smart guys.”
As for obstructing the Penguins, Babcock added: “Obstruction is with your stick, and there’s been zero of that.”
ODDS ON WINGS: It is Detroit’s 23rd time in the Stanley Cup final. In the previous 22, they won the opening two games eight times and went on to win six of those series. The only losses were in 1942 against Toronto and in 1966 against Montreal.
ROAD WARRIOR: All of Pavel Datsyuk’s playoff goals – nine and counting going into Game 3 – were scored on the road.
Coach Mike Babcock is more than happy with that, and offered this explanation: “We match them up at home, we set them free on the road.”