The NHL wasn’t sure if there would even be a season in 2013, but after the lockout wiped out only bits of the season the league is now ready to hand out some hardware for the work put in by players int he shortened season. The Hart Trophy is the most coveted award in hockey next to a Stanley Cup, but while the Cup is won in a battle of East versus West, the Hart Trophy finalists this year all come from the same conference.
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and the Isles’ John Tavares were all named Hart Trophy finalists for the 2013 season, and it’s an announcement that has some people up in arms, including others in the Eastern Conference.
The only name most people won’t be familiar with it New York’s John Tavares, who has led the Isles to not only a playoff berth but is helping to keep them in their series against Crosby’s Penguins. The Isles hadn’t been to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2007, but Tavares’ 28 goals and his 47 points helped land New York back in the postseason.
Crosby and Ovechkin are commonly associated with the Hart Trophy as the duo are widely regarded as the best two players in hockey today. Ovechkin is one of only 11 players in the history of the award to have won it consecutively as he took home the Hart Trophy in 2008 and again in 2009. Crosby took home the award back in 2007 meaning for a stretch of three years, no player other than Crosby or Ovechkin won the NHL’s MVP award.
Should the award go to Crosby, the Penguins would have back-to-back Hart Trophy winners as Evgeni Malkin won the award last season.
But while it would be outstanding if Tavares played up the underdog role and took home the trophy, a win for Ovechkin would be historic. Should the Caps star win the award he would join the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Eddie Shore, Bobby Clarke, Mario Lemieux, Howie Morenz and Bobby Orr as the only players in NHL history to take home the Hart Trophy three or more times.
Much has been made about Crosby being the next Gretzky, but the Pens captain has only one.
Guys like Jonathan Towes, Patrick Kane and Ryan Getzlaf all are notable snubs for the award, but it’s not awards season without snubs and sins of omission. The Hart Trophy will be awarded during the Stanley Cup Final next month.