Just some food for thought as we enjoy the wildly unpredictable second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The candidates for the Hart trophy were released today, and I'm sure many will wonder why there was any other name on the ballot besides Alexander Ovechkin. He did after all lead the league in scoring, winning the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies, not to mention almost single-handedly carrying his team to the playoffs. Yes there is certainly plenty of reasons why Ovie should win the trophy hands down.
Oh but wait. There are in fact two other names on the ballot! The first would include Jarome Iginla, thrid highest point getter in the league, and the heart and soul of a Calgary team that is quite well stacked with plenty of talent.
Then there is Evgeni Malkin. Calder winner last year, second in league scoring and playing in the shadow of well advertised superstar Sidney Crosby. But have we been giving Malkin the credit he really deserves?
During the 28 games that former MVP Sidney Crosby was out with an ankle injury, Malkin recorded 46 points. In the other 54 games of the season, Malkin had a total of 60 points. Unlike Ovechkin who was only able to score 14 goals in 21 games until Washington got a new head coach, Malkin maintained his elite play throughout the entire course of the season. He also knew when it was time to step up, and that he did, scoring 20 goals and 26 assists while Crosby was injured. Malkin was also the highest scorer in the NHL after December 31st, recording 65 points.
If the award judges the person most valuble to his team, it seems maybe Bruce Boudreau deserves it more than anyone, as the moment he got behind the bench the Capitals never looked back. An MVP is that at all times, during adversity, during winning and losing streaks, no matter who is playing next to them or who is their coach; and especially when the pressure is on.
Sure Ovechkin is worthy of the honors, and if he does win, it will be well deserved. But I would hope that the voting committee gives the other candidates a fair acknowledgement. There are three players nominated after all.
Let the arrows start flying.