The Hart Trophy: Thornton should win
I've changed my mind.
Even only a few weeks ago, I had said Miikka Kiprusoff or Jaromir Jagr would and should be the frontrunners for the Hart Trophy, but in that time, Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks have been so dominant, it's been hard to ignore.
Tonight, the Sharks locked up a playoff spot with a 5-4 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks, and it was The Thornton Show (and I don't mean Scott). Joe played 20 minutes, had four assists and was +3. In his last six games, he's got 13 points and is now just two back of Jagr for the NHL scoring lead.
The craziest part of Thornton's escapades, of course, has been the Sharks' record since trading for the big guy from St. Thomas.
A 112-point pace over a full season. And Thornton himself has scored on a 128-point-per-game pace in San Jose.
The Sharks have gone from looking like also-rans to Stanley Cup contenders.
And the thing is, unlike Jagr, Thornton is an excellent defensive player, a physical force and great on faceoffs (51.5%). He plays the second-most time shorthanded among San Jose forwards (2:03), behind only Alyn McCauley, and wouldn't be out of place among this year's nominees for the Selke. (New York Rangers coach Tom Renny, on the other hand, wouldn't be caught dead with Jagr on the penalty kill.)
OK, that's it — I've weighed in. It's Thornton.
Then again, there are three games left.