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NHL Blog Council: Putting Sidney Crosby's resurgence into perspective

Our weekly blogger roundtable answers your hockey questions.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With a network as vast as ours here at SB Nation, we figured we'd put our fine hockey bloggers to good use. You've got questions every week. We know. And we're here to help.

Each Monday at 12 p.m. ET we'll take your questions on Twitter at @SBNationNHL. Our NHL Blog Council (made up of different bloggers from around the SBN hockey network) will meet and consider your queries. Later in the week we will render our verdicts to the masses.

Without further ado ...

Blog Council: COMMENCE


Who won the Dion Phaneuf trade?

Scott WheelerPension Plan Puppets: The only real conclusion that I can draw from the Phaneuf trade is that Tobias Lindberg was the winner because he doesn’t have to live in Binghamton anymore. Time will tell for the rest. Lindberg, the second-round pick, and the cap space make it a good deal for the Leafs even if Jared Cowen, Colin Greening and Zbynek Michalek don’t amount to anything in the franchise. And in return, the Sens get four bodies that likely don’t become anything (Bailey is the best of the bunch and that’s not saying much) and Phaneuf -- who should add a great deal to their defense and take some stress off of Karlsson from a leadership perspective.

Erin BolenDefending Big D: The Internet. The memes with Phaneuf's face already mashed up onto the Senators, well, senator are amazing. From a team standpoint, it's far too soon to tell. Neither is going anywhere interesting this year, and both Toronto's ability to do something meaningful with the cap space and Ottawa's ability to put Phaneuf in positions to succeed are far from assured.

Adam HermanBlueshirt Banter: No question the Leafs won the trade. Merely getting out of Phaneuf's long-term contract is a major win in itself. Most people think about its impact on signing Stamkos. I'm thinking about the $7 million cap hit cleared for the 2019-2021 seasons, when I think Toronto has a real chance of being a contender. Add to that a prospect I really like in Tobias Lindberg and a second-round pick. Great move all-around for Toronto. Not sure why Ottawa is pretending to be a good team and I don't see what big-picture difference Phaneuf will make for them.

Ryan BattyCopper 'N Blue: I'd have to say Toronto. Phaneuf's deal isn't terrible today, but by the time the Leafs are ready to win it probably would have been, so getting rid of that is a big plus. Factor in that it helps with a passive tank for draft position and there's a lot to like about it if you're a Leafs fan.

* * *

What’s the difference between the Sidney Crosby of the first half and the Crosby we see now?

Scott Wheeler, Pension Plan Puppets: I don’t think we’re seeing a different Crosby. Stylistically he’s always played a strong, powerful cycle game with the ability to find teammates just about anywhere. I think the improved production has largely been due to a new coach and the time it took for the Penguins to find the right fits for their new acquisitions. It’s not easy adding several players up front and finding instant chemistry -- even for Sid.

Erin Bolen, Defending Big D: I have Western Conference bias and don't see a whole lot of Penguins games, and it doesn't help that the Stars were done with them in the 2015 portion of their schedule. Some of it is schedule -- the Penguins have been playing a fairly steady diet of forgettable opponents. Some of it is usage -- they're cheating him more to the offensive zone. And a lot of it is luck -- I don't care who you are, a 23.3 percent shooting percentage won't last.

Adam Herman, Blueshirt Banter: I certainly think the coaching change plays a big part. Mike Johnston was a fantastic coach at the WHL level but appeared over his head with the Penguins. Pittsburgh was a poor possession team under Johnston, but have been the top one in the NHL since Sullivan was given the reigns. Acquiring Hagelin has also given them a different dimension. But at the end of the day, Crosby is human just like everybody else. Sometimes great players have a bad few months or even a sub-par season. Stuff happens. Anyone who thought he had permanently lost his ability was being ridiculous.

Ryan Batty, Copper 'N Blue: The biggest difference is luck. He was unbelievably unlucky, in terms of shooting percentage, early in the season and suddenly it seems as if everything he touches is ending up in the back of the net. Looking at the numbers it looks as if he and his line mates are getting more picks to the net, too. That makes for a nice combination right now.

* * *

Did Bob Hartley do the right thing in benching Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan?

Scott Wheeler, Pension Plan Puppets: If the Calgary Flames wanted to tank, then they did the right thing in sitting Gaudreau and Monahan. But they chose the wrong team. Nobody out-tanks a Leafs team on the day it lost its captain and announced three of its top nine forwards were going to be sitting out with injuries in favor of ... Rich Clune. Gaudreau and Monahan both appear to be stand-up kids, so I’m sure it was lesson learned (if it was even needed).

Erin Bolen, Defending Big D: Yup, though I would have preferred he was more forthcoming about the reasons for the benching. The quickest way to let things spiral out of control from a team discipline perspective is to let small things go, and one thing all athletes understand is loss of playing time. People make mistakes, and a single bad morning is not the defining characteristic of their careers, but mistakes do have consequences that Gaudreau, Monahan and Bouma had to pay.

Adam Herman, Blueshirt Banter: It's hard to say without knowing specifically what happened, what was said, and what the context is. Ultimately, Hartley knows the state of the locker room better than we do. However, something tells me the outcome is very different if the Flames are cruising to a playoff spot and are on a run of good form. This was probably an attempt at making a statement, which at face value is a good move given how the season has gone for Calgary. But it wouldn't have been necessary if the organization hadn't let a fluke 14-15 season delude them into thinking they're far better than they actually are.

Ryan Batty, Copper 'N Blue: Absolutely he did. And as an Oilers fan I think the Flames should go a step further and basically give both away right now before they poison the dressing room.

* * *

Who’s the player you most want to see traded before the deadline?

Scott Wheeler, Pension Plan Puppets: I’d like to see Travis Hamonic moved if nothing else, so that he can find the right place for him and his family. It’s an honest trade request from an excellent player and I’m intrigued to know what his value will be. The Isles should get considerable value back, and I think he could really help change the dynamic for a team in Western Canada (his preferred destination). The Oilers could certainly use him.

Erin Bolen, Defending Big D: I'll vote that the Wild go into total seller mode and send the Stars one Ryan Suter. In the realm of reality, though, I'd like to see Jonathan Drouin end up somewhere he can have a fresh start, even if that means starting in the AHL and earning his way back up the ladder.

Adam Herman, Blueshirt Banter: Definitely Jonathan Drouin. The NHL seemingly has room for bad players, who provide "gritty veteran presence"  like Jarret Stoll and Mike Brown, but there's no opening for an extremely talented 20-year-old is stuck in the minors? Come on. I'd be frustrated, too, if Ryan Callahan was being paid $5.5 million to score five goals next to Stamkos while I couldn't even get on the ice. I think John Cooper and Steve Yzerman are both fantastic, but they handled this one poorly. Everyone similarly questioned Turris' professionalism and attitude when he requested a trade from the Coyotes for similar reasons. Now he's a big player for Ottawa. There's little doubt in my mind that Drouin can immediately step into a team's top six and make plays. We're being deprived of watching a possible superstar in the making.

Ryan Batty, Copper 'N Blue: Jarome Iginla. He's nearing the end of his career and I'd like to see him get a shot at winning a Stanley Cup before he's done. People always say winning a cup as a rental player deserves an asterisk next to their name, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't want to see Iginla lift the cup.