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who is “Hart” worthy?

Posted By Amit Mann On May 3 2010 @ 3:19 pm In NHL | 6 Comments

The three-headed monster of the MVP race in the NHL breaks down with Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh Penguins, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks battling it out for the reign as the league’s most valuable player. Notice the exclusion of either Ryan Miller or Ilya Bryzgalov on the ballot which in my opinion, is just wrong.

Anyways, the votes are already made and all we have to is wait until that summer day in June when the season is over to findout who will get the trophy. But it’s more fun to speculate so let’s take a look.

Henrik Sedin
Had by far his best season in the NHL. He was the first Canuck to ever win the Art Ross trophy for most points with 112 and is hoping to become the first player in the 40 year history of the Vancouver organization to win the Hart. He, along with brother Daniel, took great strides this season as both players become offensive juggernuats combining for 197 points in the 2009-2010 season. Henrik led the league with 83 assists while scoring a career-high 29 goals. He also boasted a plus-35 rating in his 82 games and has been a plus player in every one of his nine seasons in the NHL, with exception to his minus -2 rating in his rookie year. Henrik is one smooth character as his fluent passing and slick skating makes him one of the most talented players to watch.

Sidney Crosby
He continues to improve in every facet of hockey. At the end of each season, he gets a list of things he has to improve on and he doesn’t just get better, he goes above and beyond. He needed to improve his face-off percentage and this season, he finished eighth with 55.9 among players who haven taken atleast 1,000 draws. He needed to score more goals and he went out and scored 51, good enough to be the co-winner of the Maurice Richard trophy along with Steven Stamkos. He had 109 points on the season and was arguably the most clutch scorer during the season. I am not talking about the Olympics, although that was the epidimy of clutch, but during the NHL season, Crosby was always seen scoring the game-winning goal or getting the shootout winner. He plays both sides of the ice and ranked third in ice time among forwards during the regular season.

Alexander Ovechkin
The most prolific scorer in recent memory in the NHL. The guy takes a heck of a lot of shots but scoring 50 goals in 72 games is no easy feat. He is looking to become the first three-time MVP since the Great One, which will put him in some exlcusive company. He scored atleast 50 goals for the fourth time in his career and finished as a plus-45, putting him in second among NHL players. Despite missing 10 games with injury or suspension, the Russian sniper still tied Crosby with 109 points on the season. Ovechkin is the most charismatic and energetic player every time he steps on the ice and a third MVP is not out of the question.

Prediction
Guranteed to get some flack for this but I’m writing this and I can write what I want! My pick for the Hart Trophy is none other than the player who scored the game-winning goal to clinch Canada the gold medal in the Olympics, Sidney Crosby. Crosby likely had every Penguins forward on his line and continued to produce. Evgeni Malkin was injured peridoically throughout the season, which put added pressure on the Cole Harbour-native to rack up the points, and he did. Crosby makes everybody around him look like All-Stars and his attention to defense makes him one of the best two-way players in the league.

My Arguement
Henrik Sedin had a great year but his brother had every bit to do with that. Daniel’s season has been overshadowed by his brothers point totals, but the truth is, if he didn’t miss 19 games with injury, he probably would have been right where Henrik is. Henrik did score 10 goals in the games Daniel missed, but Vancouver’s record was 11-8 during that time. Not impressive. An MVP has to be the most valuable player to his team and although Daniel doesn’t wear an “A”, he is every bit as important to the success of Vancouver as Henrik. Vancouver finished with 103 points on the season and also had six players achieve 25 goals or more. Pittsburgh on the other hand had 101 points and had just two players finish with 25 goals or more (Malkin, 28). Interesting.

As for “Ovie”, his team can score just fine without him. During the 10 games Ovechkin missed, Washington had no problem scoring and had just as good of a record without the reigning MVP. I am not saying the Capitals don’t need Ovechkin becuase that just is not true, but I will say they’re still a very good offensive team without him, because we all know they don’t play defense. Ovechkin’s importance is on the offensive end and if his team can score without him, does that not hurt his MVP value? Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin are possible All Stars on their own and then you have Mike Green, the best forward playing defense, on the back end so how important is Ovechkin to the Capitals. Is it in his toughness and grit? Ok I will give him that but I can’t see that willing him to a third Hart Trophy.

Crosby is more important to his team simply because he has done more with less. Both Henrik and Ovechkin have outstanding supporting casts while Crosby has Malkin who had an off year. He scored 50 goals for the first time in his career and became a two-way player in the process. If that isn’t MVP worthy, I don’t know what is.

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