Hart talk finally heads West

Damn, I should start blogging on the weekends. Last week I had planned on writing about how two Western Conference Players were getting ignored in the Hart trophy talk for the media darling Ovechkin and the Robin to Crosby's Batman, Evgeni Malkin. Then I put it on the back burners and focused on the Avs rapidly deteriorating season. Well in the course of a week some nationally prominent writers started to realize, after only 70 games, that there's some Western Conference Players having pretty good seasons too.

Yes Russ McKeon of Yahoo Sports and Damien Cox of the Toronto Star have both made cases for Jarome Iginla and Nikolas Lidstrom. This, in turn, has caused the fine folks over at the NHL Fanhouse to take a look at both candidates as well.

One point of contention that I have for both McKeon and Cox is that in their article's the argument comes down to, basically:
If the Caps on't make the playoffs Ovechkin can't win the MVP
As if the difference between the 8th and 9th place diminishes the accomplishments of one player that much. But that kind of talk doesn't only diminish Ovechkin's accomplishments, but it diminishes Iginla and Lidstrom's seasons as well. As if they are only deserving MVP's because of where some mediocre team in the Eastern conference finishes. No Iginla and Lidstrom's accomplishments this season stand on their own as great season deserving of Hart consideration despite Ovechkin's fantastic season. Their accomplishments deserve to be compared to Ovechkin and Malkin's logically.

Iginla trails Ovechkin by 15 points, but there's got to be some caveat to that. He plays in the Western Conference, and more specifically the NW division, where points are harder to come by. 3 of the 5 worst teams in Goals against/Game this season reside in the SE division (TB, ATL, and Carolina). That's 24 games (nearly 30% of the season) that Ovechkin gets to play against putrid defensive teams. (In a final Hart trophy analysis i'll look at how these two players do against their division, but that's for another time)

Lidstrom, on the other hand, is even harder to quantify in stats because he plays a position that isn't defined by statistics, unfortunately. All I can say is that when he was out with Injury Detroit looked like a completely different team, one incredibly beatable in every sense. He transforms that team.The same thing can be said about Ovechkin, but Lidstrom does it for the best team in the league and plays a position that, to me, is more valuable.

Let's remember that the Hart is (or should be) a 4-horse race with a few games left.

3 comments:

  1. There's a Western conference? Who knew. I could have sworn this league was comprised of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins and Alexander Ovechkin.

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  2. no kidding, and sometimes the Red Wings barnstorm over to those sites as well, who knows what they do when they aren't playing those teams

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  3. 1) Lidstrom, Ovechkin, and perhaps Brodeur/Iginla would be our top Hart Finalists at this point.
    2) Lidstrom's numbers at both ends of the ice are sick. We sure you guys here hate the Wings, but you have to give the old Swede credit for having another(perhaps his best) amazing season
    3) That said, it would be hard to ignore a player(Ovechkin) scoring more goals than anyone has in a decade plus/leading the NHL in overall scoring/PP goals/GW goals AND in the top 10 in hits. (Regardless of his team/conference)

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