May 10, 2013 by The Hockey Daily.
The Hart Trophy. Arguably the most prestigious of individual awards in the NHL and certainly the most confusing. Is it awarded to the most outstanding player in the league or the player most valuable to his team? There are different interpretations.
It was announced today that John Tavares, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are the three finalists, however, some believe Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks should have been a finalist. Toews was great in leading the Hawks to a Presidents Trophy title while finishing 9th in league scoring. Adam Proteau of The Hockey News Tweeted: “All I can say is this: who would you rather have in any situation on the ice – Toews or Ovechkin? To ask the question is to answer it.” Damien Cox of the Toronto Star Tweeted the following in support of Toews for the Hart Trophy: “Jonathan Toews NOT a Hart finalist? Holy crap. And all three nominees from the weaker east? A world gone mad.”
Crosby and Ovechkin Have Won The Hart Before.
In 2006-07 a young Sidney Crosby captured his first Hart Trophy. The following two seasons Alex Ovechkin won the Hart twice in a row. Since Crosby and Ovechkin entered the league together in 2005-06 there have not been two players more acclaimed, praised or admired than these two poster boys for the new era of NHL hockey that followed a lockout induced full season cancelation in 2004-05.
Sid The Kid has battled injuries in recent years and The Great 8 has battled inconsistencies in his game. There was a time when the two of them looked to have a possible Wayne Gretzky-like hold on the Hart for years to come. However, other guys managed to step in and win a few since Ovie’s last one in 2008-09. This year there is a very good chance one of the NHL’s top two poster boys will add another Hart to their resume and reclaim the status they were touted to maintain for years to come.
John Tavares – The Most Valuable To His Team.
If your Hart Trophy vote is going to the player that was the most outstanding in the 2012-13 NHL season then Jonathan Tavares probably belongs 3rd on your ballet. He accumulated less points than both Crosby and Ovechkin. However, if you choose to vote for the player who was most valuable to his team, there is a strong case that Tavares is him.
Tavares plays on a team that wasn’t even supposed to make the playoffs this season. He doesn’t get to enjoy power play time with some of the most talented players in the world like Crosby and Ovie who share the ice with Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Nicklas Backstrom, nor does he have the luxury of playing for a team that came into this season knowing what it takes to be successful. Tavares had to learn that along with his teammates this year. He had to elevate his game enough to outdo last season’s Stanley Cup Finalists the New Jersey Devils and shoe-in to make the playoffs the Philadelphia Flyers for a playoff spot. And he did.
John Tavares’ value to his team is unmatched by anyone in the playoffs, not including goaltenders. You’re a hockey fan, ask yourself this – If you took John Tavares, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin away from their teams which team would suffer the most? The answer to that question is the name of the man who should win the Hart Trophy this season.