The NHL announced today that Alexander Ovechkin was named a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Ovechkin won the award twice in a row in 2007-08 and 2008-09. He was also a finalist for the award in 2009-10.
Photo: Washington Post
Already a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award as the league's most outstanding player as voted on by his peers, Alex Ovechkin makes an easy case for most valuable player, as well. The first overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft captained the Capitals to the Southeast Division championship, leading them out of a season-opening slump. The team started the season 2-8-1, but Ovechkin scored 23 goals and 36 points over the final 23 games as the team went 17-4-2 to secure a playoff spot. The right-winger led the league in goals with 32 and finished third in points with 56. He led the league in powerplay scoring with 16 goals and 27 points on the league's top powerplay unit. The puck was always on his stick: he led the league with 220 shots on goal and 98 shots that missed the target. He played all 48 games and finished 7th in total ice time among forwards (1,002:27, or 20:53 per game), but first in powerplay ice time (220:30, 4:35 per game). He also finished 21st among forwards in hits with 120 and snagged 30 takeaways to only 25 giveaways. Ovechkin also went 3-for-3 in shootouts, all wins, and scored 4 game-winning goals.
The second finalist for the award was center John Tavares of the New York Islanders. The first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Tavares led the Islanders with 28 goals and 47 points, helping them to a playoff berth for the first time since 2007. He also led the team with 5 game-winning goals and scored on 3 of his 6 shootout attempts. He placed 3rd in the NH with 28 goals and 9 powerplay goals The Islanders' alternate captain played all 48 games and finished 8th among forwards in total ice time, with 997:11, or 20:46 per game. This is his first nomination for a major NHL award.
The other finalist was the first overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, center Sidney Crosby.