Handing Out Hardware: Top 5 for the 2013 Hart Trophy

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by Puck

Hockey Correspondent and Occasional Shakespeare Character, White Cover Magazine

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NOTE: You’ll notice that I have not picked one player who Barry Melrose picked. I did not do this intentionally, but it pleased me greatly when I realized this. (Barry Melrose is a boob.)

5. Sergei Bobrovsky

Let’s ignite this whole thing again: what does MOST VALUABLE really mean?

Well, whatever it was intended to mean (and, we could go on a whole other direction with that, right Second Amendment fans?) doesn’t obscure how good — how vital — Sergei Bobrovsky has been for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013. He won’t win, because goalies have been shafted in years they’ve done more. Of course, they’ve also won in years they’ve done worse.

Fact is, the Jackets are about to knock off Detroit or Minnesota for the West’s final playoff spot, and Bob is the only reason why.

4. Martin St. Louis

Let’s give a little love to our Art Ross Trophy winner, eh?

It’s not often you see a guy win this thing twice, especially when they’re nine years apart. What a great, understated career this undrafted miracle worker is having.

3. John Tavares

The Islanders have had a Columbus-like rebirth in 2013, only New York is guaranteed to make the playoffs, and they could give Boston a scare in Round 1. Tavares has dipped and peaked in his points-per-game numbers, but he’s still an excellent 47-for-47 through Thursday night, and 28 of those are goals.

Nobody in the NHL does more with less than John Tavares. If the Islanders were a little higher in the standings, this guy would run away with it.

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2. Alex Ovechkin

Hart Trophies aren’t about comebacks, and so I have no desire to give Ovie a trophy just because it would make you feel all good inside, but nobody can argue against the way he’s closed out 2013. Ovie’s 32 goals have come out of nowhere, and he’s back in the conversation for the league’s best player.

1. Sidney Crosby

Don’t let this guy’s time off the ice obscure just how incredible a year he was having, and is still having — one of the best of all-time, in fact. Don’t let Pittsburgh’s overall greatness ruin your opinion of how good this guy is on his own, either. (Let Chicago’s overall greatness ruin your opinion of Toews and Kane, instead.)

On Wednesday, Sidney Crosby lost control of the NHL’s scoring race. He’s now in third, two points of leader St. Louis, who had a hat trick two days ago.

Of course, it took Marty 11 more games to do it.

We have to stop getting away from the point of what the Hart Trophy really is about: to acknowledge the best player in the NHL in a specific year.

Yes, Ovechkin leads the league in goals. It’s very nice. So, give him the Rocket Richard Trophy. That’s what it’s there for.

Total goals don’t change this fact: there’s no doubt, injury or not, that 2013 was the Year of the Sidney Crosby.

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Notables:

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

Yeah, he’s good, but the Blackhawks are better as a whole, and I’m not convinced he’s been any more valuable than Patrick Kane just because he’s Canadian.

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

Goals are great, and Stammer is a much better all-around player than he’s credited for, but the Lightning have got to start making the playoffs for him to matter at all in this discussion.

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Who?

Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

Because I can’t nominate Bruce Boudreau for the Hart, I’ll go with his best player — and captain.

Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Lost in an all-around effort in Vancouver has been another excellent year for the Canucks captain.

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

The Wings aren’t great, but there hasn’t been a player in the league who’s been as good every night (for a whole season, Sidney) as Pavel Datsyuk, and his 46 points in 46 games for a mediocre Hockeytown team are proof of that. If they can hang on to one of those final two playoff spots, Datsyuk will be Detroit’s Bobrovsky.

Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs

James Reimer deserves a lot of the credit for Toronto’s return to the postseason — as do guys like Nazem Kadri and coach Randy Carlyle — but don’t let a better Buds team spoil the year Kessel’s had. No player came under such scrutiny in the first two weeks of this shortened campaign, and only Ovechkin has answered the bell with such a response.

Did you even know he has 51 points through 47 games?