24 March 2008
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 MVPAs 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.
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