Wednesday, November 08, 2006

10 early votes for the Hart has been running a weekly Trophy Tracker on it's hockey hub, where the newspaper's hockey experts all weigh in throughout the season on who will take home the NHL's hardware.

So far for the biggest award of them all — the Hart Trophy — there are all kinds of candidates being offered up: Marian Hossa, Chris Drury, Joe Thornton, Jaromir Jagr, etc.

For the most part, I agree with the picks but given how close things are at this point, I think there are 10 players deserving of a vote, one month into the season:
  1. Marian Hossa, Atlanta. Leading the league in goals on one of 2006-07's surprise teams.

  2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh. On pace for 130 points, Crosby's lighting a fire under the rest of his team.

  3. Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim. Ducks have yet to lose in regulation and captain is a big reason why.

  4. Manny Fernandez, Minnesota. He's been terrific this season and is one of the league leaders in wins, goals-against average, save percentage and saves.

  5. Chris Drury, Buffalo. Lead penalty killer and one of NHL's scoring leaders.

  6. Daniel Briere, Buffalo. Will be counted on for even more with Maxim Afinogenov on the shelf.

  7. Mats Sundin, Toronto. We're going to see just where the Maple Leafs would be without their captain for the next three-to-four weeks.

  8. Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina. Team hasn't climbed the standings but may be on their way given 36-year-old's play.

  9. Chris Pronger, Anaheim. Contributions have nearly mirrored those of Niedermayer so far with Ducks.

  10. Alex Ovechkin, Washington. Capitals owe a lot of their surprising start (6-4-4) to super sophomore.
Who'd I miss? (Let the name calling begin.)

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At 2:07 p.m., November 08, 2006, Blogger jtkratzer said...

Derian Hatcher and Robert Esche should share the award in place of all 29 other teams because much of their success, as least the eastern conference (Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay) has come from these two stellar players.

At 4:49 p.m., November 08, 2006, Blogger The Puck Stops Here said...

You missed Nicklas Lidstrom

At 4:52 p.m., November 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:47 p.m., November 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with Drury is that is he more valuable to the Sabres than Briere or Afinogenov or Miller, all of whom also warrant some discussion as the most valuable Sabre so far? Tough call.

I think you also have to consider Jagr a candidate despite a somewhat dissapointing start to the season by the Rangers. His points per game ratio is the best in the NHL (on pace for 135 points). He's given up some of the goal production to Shanahan but he is still the key guy on that team.

Joe Thorton got off to a bit of a slow start but is coming on lately and looks like he is going to get himself into the MVP race again.

A dark horse might be Vincent Lecavalier. This is a guy who has never scored more than 78 points but has 8 goals and 20 points in 15 games so far. He won't win MVP with his team out of the playoffs but he is getting closer to earning his salary. If he continues like he has and he can get Tampa into the playoffs he might deserve some consideration.

At 7:17 p.m., November 08, 2006, Blogger PDO said...

Okay, this is one of my huge pet peeves...

How the hell can you have two MVP's on the same team?

Doesn't that completely defeat the purpose of the award? It's not awarded to the best player, it's contributed to the player who contributes more to his team than any other player did to their respective team in the league.

How the hell can you have two of those on the same team?

Anyway, my early vote goes to Hossa.


At 9:03 p.m., November 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anyway, my early vote goes to Hossa."

After your rant about 2 MVPs on the same team, can you explain why Hossa (13g, 11a, 24pts, +1) gets it over Kovalchuk (12g, 11a, 23pts, +3)? Isn't Atlanta a classic example of 2 MVPs on the same team?

At 9:13 p.m., November 08, 2006, Blogger PDO said...

Hossa's stirring the drink. Kovalchuk is a nice compliment, no doubt, but Hossa is the guy who the other team is gameplanning for at Evens, and is the guy who's making life easier for Ilya.

I haven't seen a lot of the Thrashers, but that's what I've noticed in the games that I've watched. Kovalchuk is a nice compliment to Hossa, but the team isn't a playoff team without Hossa... I think they still are without Kovalchuk (and assuming it's a regular player replacing them, not a minor leaguer.. easiest example is you give Calgary average goaltending instead of Kiprusoff).


At 9:18 p.m., November 08, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Drury gets the nod over other Sabres because of his work on the PK.

Miller, while excellent, isn't up there with the other Vezina candidates this season. He's maybe Top 5 — not the best.

At 10:30 a.m., November 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bk, you probably should watch a few more thrasher games then. hossa and kovalchuk are equally valuable to the team. kovalchuk may be moody and rub people the wrong way sometimes but that in no way diminishes his value.

At 11:26 a.m., November 09, 2006, Blogger PK said...

There's a guy named Jagr in New York who has 23 points.

If anyone else had that kind of start, they would be celebrated. It's expected for Jagr, so he gets no early Hart consideration.

He's also +4, by the way.

At 12:25 p.m., November 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You East Coasters are hilarious. Do you watch any hockey games out West?

Would the Canucks, using 3rd string AHL defensemen, even have a win yet if it wasn't for Luongo?

Can you imagine the team's record with Cloutier or Auld back there? Oh, I guess you could (see Kings, L.A.; and Panthers, Florida).

At 1:45 p.m., November 09, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Given my work schedule, about 75% of the games I see are late-night, west coast games. And given that I'm from B.C., I always try and catch the Canucks, who I've seen play nine or 10 times so far. (I hate it when people call 'east coast bias' on a guy from the west.)

Luongo has been terrific, but he's team is essentially .500 and he is 15th in save percentage. No one's winning the Hart with those numbers.

At 7:30 p.m., November 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived out East for awhile too, and the bias creeps in if you're not careful. ;) Two players from the western conference on your list, and only from one team?

Luongo's numbers aren't perfect, but I stand by the opinion the Canucks would be all but winless if it weren't for him.

Still, what about Thornton, Turco, Voukun, and Fernandez?

At 7:43 p.m., November 09, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Fernandez is No. 4.

At 11:54 a.m., November 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops ;)

At 3:02 p.m., November 10, 2006, Blogger mike said...

If a goalie wins the Hart, no doubt he will be from the West. The top 6 defenses in the league are all out West: Stars, Ducks, Wings, Wild, Sharks and Canucks.


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