Mayor Ovechkin, Special Assistants Malkin and Crosby
The Art Ross Trophy is awarded to the NHL player that totals the most points at the end of the season. Brought to the league officially in the 1947-1948 season, it quickly became the trophy that all great players would want to hold besides the Stanley Cup. Every era of hockey has the same names winning the trophy and it always seems to be one of three players. In today’s hockey it will say either, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, or Sidney Crosby.
In the current season Ovechkin and Malkin are sitting one-two in the scoring race and are the only two players with above the 100 point mark. These two are very close to becoming the youngest one-two punch in scoring history with a combined age of 43 years. We could all assume that defending Art Ross champion Crosby would be up there if he had not sat out nearly 30 games this season with an ankle injury. Simple math here everyone: you must be healthy to win the Art Ross.
Crosby has the weight of an entire franchise on his back, and has silenced critics with his 120 points last year. Before his injury this year, he was top two in scoring and may have taken more time off since someone else took care of business.
Malkin really proved this year that he can carry the load of the team after Crosby got hurt. He’s had amazing numbers since his line-mate’s injury, with an average of nearly 1.5 points a game. This takes weight off Crosby’s back and also brings a second icon to Pittsburgh.
As good as Malkin and Crosby are, this Ovechkin guy is the greatest thing to happen to Washington hockey since Jagr cut his mullet. This young phenomenon gave the NHL the intensity it needed. The guy has celebrated every one of his 60 plus goals this season as if it were his first ever in the big leagues. He accomplished more on this team than the great Jaromir Jagr attempted years back. Get used to the name Alexander Ovechkin; you will be seeing it very often on the Art Ross Trophy.
Malkin, Crosby and Ovechkin have an average age of 21. Each of them could have another twelve to fifteen solid years ahead of them. There is a great possibility they can dominate the game like great ones before them.
From the 1980-81 season all the way through to the 2000-01 season, a span of 20 years and 21 seasons, this trophy only went to one of three names; Wayne Gretzky with 10, Mario Lemieux with 6, and Jaromir Jagr with 5. These three names are almost 50% of the names on the entire trophy. Respectably, Gordie Howe is on there 6 times and Phil Esposito 5 times. Incredible.
The current Crosby/Malkin combo may be a replica of the Lemieux/Jagr combo of the Penguins’ past. With Crosby going one for one with the Art Ross, and Malkin close to the title this year, the comparison is legit. Actions speak louder than words, and so do Stanley Cups. Sadly to all Penguins fans, the comparison may stop here. Let us not bother with an Ovechkin to Gretzky evaluation.
Someone once said that history repeats itself and this proves that it may be right.
Yes, there are other players in the league that “have a chance”. Vincent Lecavalier and Jarome Iginla are previous winners and Ilya Kovalchuk has teetered with the title in the past. Playing at an extremely high level will not win an Art Ross. To win, your name must either be Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby for the next 15 years.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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