Hart Trophy Finalists Announced
How Can Ovechkin Not Win
The NHL has officially announced its three nominees for the 2008 Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player to his team during the regular season. Calgary Flames' star Jarome Iginla, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals' winger Alexander Ovechkin are all looking to win their first MVP award. While Iginla and Malkin have had incredible hockey seasons, there should be no argument that Ovechkin will be the one placing the 2008 Hart Trophy on his top shelf.
Washington got off to a terrible start this season; at one point being at the bottom of the barrel. Ovechkin’s 65 goals and 47 assists was no doubt, a large part in the Capitals success to turn the season around and winning the Southeast Division for the first time since 2001. He is a first-time nominee for this award and with his 112 points, has already captured the Rocket Richard Trophy as the leagues top scorer. I think these stats alone could win him the award, but for fun, let me persuade you even more.
Ovechkin led the league in power play goals with 22, game winning goals with 11, and he had almost 100 more shots on net than second place finisher, Henrik Zetterberg, with 446. He was a +28 on a team that only scored 11 more than goals than it allowed the entire season. They do not call him “Alexander the Great” for nothing; when he is on the ice, the team is insanely better and terrifyingly dangerous.
He led the league in close to half of the categories and pretty much dominated every stat on the Capitals team. I am not a huge Ovechkin fan whats-so-ever, but these numbers add up to a clear winner, without even knowing the other nominees. A “MVP” chant is well deserved right now.
For the third time in his career, Jarome Iginla is a finalist for the Hart Trophy, placing second in both 2002 and 2004. He has always been one of my personal favorites with his scoring touch, gritty style, and willingness to whatever it takes to win. Iggy has been the Flames franchise player ever since he joined the organization 11 years ago. (Are you an Iginla fan? Add a Jarome Iginla Fathead to your wall from Sports Shop!)
Iginla, like Ovechkin, also led his team in every category. His 98 points was the highest in his career, but Calgary is an expected playoff team, Washington is not. If Ovechkin was not a finalist, Iginla would win.
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Like everyone in Pittsburgh, I think Malkin is an excellent player. Finishing second in the league with 106 points, including 46 of them without Sidney Crosby for 28 games is inspiring, but is he the most valuable player to the Penguins? No. That of course goes to Crosby who won this trophy last year. This is Malkin’s first of many nominations, but not enough evidence that he was more important than Ovechkin. (Penguin fans can place Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin on their wall with a NHL Fathead through Pro Hockey Fans and Sports Shop!)
A Russian born player has not won this award since, ironically enough, his current teammate, Sergei Federov in 1994. I would love to hear the defense of someone who does not believe Ovechkin is the clear-cut winner for the Hart Trophy.
Hart Trophy | Adams Trophy | Byng Trophy | Calder Trophy | Norris Trophy | Selke Trophy | Vezina Trophy
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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