There are only two days left in the regular season, and already we know who has won the Hart Memorial Trophy...or perhaps I should say Dan Rosen from NHL.com knows who has won.
He declares: “Ovechkin...He is the Hart Trophy winner.
“The best of the bunch (by a whisker, really) is Ovechkin, who despite trailing Malkin for the most points in the league should take home his second-straight Hart Trophy when the hardware is handed out June 18 in Las Vegas.”
Will NHL.com start selling Alex Ovechkin shirts ahead of the announcement again this year? Seems to me the race is not over, but Rosen and a few other pro-Ovechkin writers do.
I do not know about the rest of you, but I personally do not like this media-swaying-opinion approach.
With the Hart Memorial Trophy hanging in the balance and gentlemen such as the above-mentioned declaring Ovechkin the winner, I would like to point out that the race for the prize is not just a popularity contest.
Ovechkin has embraced the spotlight and loves every minute of it. Good for him, he deserves to have fun doing what he loves. This is however, not about Ovechkin and his style of play.
What about the Evgeni Malkin side of things?
"Malkin is a force of nature. Size, speed, hands, vision, strength...he has it all, and he's still just scratching the surface," said ESPN.com contributor Jay Feaster. "He is impossible to knock off the puck, and he is able to make plays at top speed.
"When he goes to the net, he is either going to get a 10-bell scoring chance or draw a penalty, because it's impossible to stop him in today's NHL."
What I want to know is whether or not the Hart is for goals, points, or overall contributions to your team. How is this judgment made? Is it on popularity with the press or just on numbers alone?
According to NHL.com, "The Hart Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association in all NHL cities at the end of the regular season." What is the criteria for this judgment?
Let’s look as some Ovechkin/Malkin stats and information:
What about NHL stats (via NHL.com, one game left for each player)? Malkin takes games played, assist, points, plus/minus, shooting percentage, average shifts per game and face off percentage won while Ovechkin has goal, power-play points, and time on ice per game.
Both are amazing—let’s not forget that—but let's also make sound judgment based on something other than finesse.
What about this “stat” that you will not see on NHL.com: The “what if’s” category.
Malkin has 286 shots on goal and 112 points. He needs 2.55 shots to register a point.
Ovechkin has 522 SOG; he needs 4.83 to do the same.
If Malkin had 522 SOG, he would have 204 points.
If Ovechkin had 286 SOG, he would have 59 points.
NOTE to Malkin: Shoot more!
NOTE to Ovechkin: Accuracy, dude!
What about consistency: In October, Ovechkin handed in a mere five points. He missed three games while he headed home to Russia to get his head clear, dealing with a family situation.
In the meantime, Malkin scored 16 points and then came back in November to hand in 23 points in 12 games; we all know the rest of the story. We also need to bear in mind that Ovechkin is playing for the better team.
Pittsburgh had issues for most of the season, while Ovechkin and company got rolling a lot sooner. I wonder what would happen if Ovechkin and Malkin were traded in an even swap?
I do not actually want to compare these guys. They are both amazing and I like them both very much. Both make hockey fun and thrilling to watch. However, I would like to think the writers are looking at the whole package and not just a personality.
I would like to ask the sports writers to look at the numbers and figures more, and less at who gives the better interview or who the better entertainer is.
With all that said, thanks to Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby, Datsyuk, Brodeur, Thomas, Weber and all the guys that make it a thrill to love this sport!