Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Malkin: Ovechkin Is The Best Player In The NHL

Add another vote to the "Ovechkin for MVP" campaign, this from rival Evgeni Malkin:

"I still have chances to become the MVP this season, however I am sure that Alexander Ovechkin is the best player in NHL this season and he will win this award."

"He is a leader of his club as he leads his partners to play-offs, that is why I have no chances to become the season's MVP."

Maybe Geno isn't as dumb as he looks.


~Mark said...

I'm sorry, but "Geno" doesn't qualify as MVP material in my book. He has been consistently average when Cindy is in the lineup, and when he was dominant, it was on a team already comfortably in the playoffs. Sorry, it's just no comparison for me!

Anonymous said...

Geno also voted Ovechkin as #1 candidate for Valeri Kharlamov (Russian's Maurice Richard) Trophy according to SovSport.

Anonymous said...

Surprised no questions about the supposed bad blood and why Ovie keeps taking runs at him.

Rage said...

Disagree with Mark. If not for Ovy, I think Malkin deserves the award.

Hooks Orpik said...

Malkin elevated his game and not only kept the Pens in the playoffs but towards the top of the ledger. He'd be a good candidate for MVP.

If Ovechkin does lead the Caps to the playoffs he deserves the MVP. If not, he'll still probably get it but the V stands for value and as good a season as AO's had, where's the value in not leading a team to the playoffs that 53% of the league makes?

D.C One Timer said...

MVP means MVP all year not just when one of your teammates has gone down. OV has been the MVP every night, he doesn't take a shift off and as Mark was saying he has been average before and after Sid was gone.

bradley said...

How could Malkin be the MVP when he wasn't the most valuable player on his team? When Crosby was in, Malkin was quiet, to say the least. When Crosby was out, the Pens were winning with strong defense and amazing goaltending, not because of Malkin's great production. He is not the reason the Pens kept up, that honor falls squarely on the shoulders of Ty Conklin. Malkin should probably be considered strongly for the Pearson, but the Hart should not go to him either way.


1) The top 3 MVP(Hart) candidates if we were voting: Ovechkin, Lidstrom, Brodeur.
2) Has anyone ever won the Richard/Ross and NOT won the Hart? Seems AO should be a shoe-in.

dmg said...

Ovechkin should be a shoe-in; I personally don't understand the logic that a player has to be on a playoff team to win the award. I think most hockey fans would agree that hockey is one of, if not the, most team oriented sport and so the best player might be on a poor team because of the other 20 guys on the roster.

Anyhow, I don't think Malkin would be a bad candidate but I do think Ovechkin has been the best player in the league this season.

Hooks Orpik said...

dmg- Hockey is a team sport but the Hart trophy is a personal award for the player adjudged most valuable to a team.

I don't disagree Ovechkin's been the best *player* this season, but where's the value if he doesn't make the playoffs?

It's hard to say though with games of such meaning ahead. We'll see what happens when the year's over.

JP said...

Where's the value if they don't make the playoffs? C'mon, Hooks. You're better than that.

If the Caps miss by a point or two, it certainly won't be because of anything AO failed to do. His value to the team - by scoring a higher percentage of team goals than any other player in hockey, by leading the League in game-winning goals, by increasing attendance almost single-handedly, by making Nick Backstrom a Calder candidate, by scoring the most clutch goals in the League - is plain to see. Why are his individual contributions to the team any more or less valuable based on one point in the standings? It's not like he's been racking up stats in meaningless games.

miker said...

Does MVP = Best Player in the League during the regular season? If so then Ovie is hands down the winner. But if that's the case then what's the point of the Pearson for Outstanding Player (aside from the voting being done by the players themselves)? Or the stat based awards for that matter?

If you define "winning" the regular season by being in the playoff when its all said and done, and if the Caps don't make the playoffs then the removal of Ovechkin from the Cap's roster nets them no change where it really matters, i.e. making the playoffs. All the new team and league records in the world, constant sell-outs, media exposure, elevating the rest of the team, etc - none of that means squat if the team is done on Saturday.

Natty Bumpo said...

faux: it turns out that NO ONE has EVER won the richard and ross trophies in the same year. of course, that's mostly due to the richard's shorter lifespan (since 1999). the feat should make the hart trophy that much more of a lock.

JR said...

Here's a simple answer. If MVP means most valuable to his team, the winner is Ovechkin.

If MVP means player having the best season, the winner is Ovechkin.

JP said...

MVP is the player "judged to be most valuable to his team" during the regular season.

It's not for the player judged to be most valuable to his team, provided that that team makes the playoffs. In theory, if a team won a dozen games all season long and one guy had all 12 game-winning goals, he'd have a pretty strong argument for the Hart.

Regardless, how can anyone argue that there's a player in the NHL who has been move valuable to his team than Ovechkin has?

For an individual award, why is there an assumption that team achievement is the litmus test for eligibility?

Maybe Ovie would be Hart worthy if he had stopped Brashear from punching Shane Hnidy in Boston. Or if he had guided Backstrom's clearing attempt to the corner. Or if he had anticipated Kolzig's rebound into the slot in Toronto and cleared it.

C'mon. By the definition of the award and by common sense, Ovie is 110% Hart-worthy.

But for those who think otherwise, I guess you'd agree that Mario didn't deserve the Hart when he won it and the Pens missed the post season, eh?

b80vin said...

I see no reason to elevate Malkin above Lidstrom, Brodeur, or even Iginlia.

As of right now the Caps have gone from the bottom of the NHL in November, to real playoff contention. Having had a decent human being and coach with a bad system for this team, the Caps forfeited the first quarter of the season, and have still tied their way into first in their division. Take any two losses (shootout losses?) and we are in the playoffs.

How can Ovechkin NOT be MVP when he has led his team (more than any single other player in the NHL) to this state? I am proud of the entire team to be sure, but Ovechkin is other-worldly. Denying him the Hart would be injustice beyond understanding at this point, playoffs or no. And remember, Lemuiex won it without getting to the playoffs, so there is precedence.

b80vin said...

Sorry jp, you posted while I was composing my remarks. You win the "mention Mario" race.

grapejoos said...

If you mean who has won the Hart that didn't lead in scoring, in the past 10 years, it would be:

Hasek (97-98, Jagr won Ross);
Pronger (99-00, Jagr won Ross);
Sakic (00-01, Jagr won Ross, Bure won Richard - it appears Sakic was 2nd in G and P);
Theodore (01-02, Iginla won Ross)

Sakic is the most interesting case there, since he won neither scoring title, but still won the Hart as a forward.

However, if the question is whether a player won both the Ross and Richard and didn't win the Hart, then the list from the past 10 years is one person long:

Iginla, 01-02 (won both, though he had less than 100 points and "only" 52 goals). The Flames also did not make the playoffs that year, nor did they come close -- they were under .500. Jose Theodore was the MVP -- I wonder if some voters wonder what they were thinking in hindsight.

That should pretty much close the door on this question. Ovechkin has led the Caps to the verge of the playoffs at least, has either tied or will set an all-time goal scoring record at his position (when was the last time THAT happened?), and has gaudy point and goal totals in addition to being a total leader for his team. He's not Iginla in 01-02, and Iginla probably should have won it that year (voting was very close). More important for some misguided voters, the Caps are not the Flames of 01-02.

As for all of the Pitt fans saying it should go to Malkin, please remember that one of the very rare instances where a guy won the Hart on a non-playoff team was Lemieux in 87-88, when 8 of 11 teams made the playoffs in the Wales Conference and when the Pens were in last in their division. Unless you want to say that was wrong, then Ovechkin is the MVP this year, period.

grapejoos said...

You guys beat me to the Lemieux point. But seriously, only 3 of 11 teams in the conference missed the playoffs that year, and the Pens were one of them. I don't think anyone wants to go back and say that his 70 goal season wasn't MVP-worthy. What's the difference?

Really, I think jr said it best. Unless you are imposing some qualifier for making the playoffs, it Ovie by any measure. I think at this point, even if we miss, the media attention on the Caps' push will be enough to get him the award. The one I really want us to make the playoffs for is the Adams for BB.

Anonymous said...

Four players from nonplayoff teams have won the Hart Trophy. The last was Mario Lemieux in 1988.

"The precedent on an issue is the collective body of judicially announced principles that a court should consider when interpreting the law."

Case closed.

miker said...

I wasn't a hockey follower back in '87 so I can't comment on the Lemuiex award then, but it's good to know there has been precedence of this sort 4 times before. In all of the debate I've seen on TV and the major media sites that little fact has never come up. Given that, I agree Ovie should hands down be the Hart winner.

Natty Bumpo said...

ah, my bad, grapejoos. you're right, iginla did win both ross and richard in '01-'02.
the comparison will definitely receive weight, especially with iginla as a possible nominee this season. but if i remember correctly, theodore walked away with the hart mostly because a single voter left iginla off his ballot completely (in protest to the flames missing the playoffs). a fluke, hopefully.

Natty Bumpo said...

also worth noting that there's hardly a consensus alternative to AO in this year's class. all the players mentioned here (brodeur, lidstrom, malkin, iginla, nabokov) have been given their share of press. seems it would take a clear #2 to bump alex, even with the stupid "didn't make the playoffs" contention.

Anonymous said...

art ross=ovechkin
wait for it....
wait for it....
wait for iiiiiiiit...
conn smyth=fedorov(against detroit in the finals, 4-0 caps)
quite a summer

JmF said...

Caps should collect some major hardware for their efforts this year - but I have to tell you, I'd trade all of them (like they're mine, right?) for a spot in the playoffs. I just don't care about those...I'm only going to care about those trophies if we don't make it.

That ass kicking we gave the Canes lastnight was amazing! Thought for sure they'd be more up for a chance to seal the division.

Sean Martin said...

Does anyone pay attention at all. Malkin has been in the top 10 or 15 in points and goals all season long. Even when Crosby was in the lineup. How is that average even in the slightest. To answer a question above Iginla won the Richard, Art Ross and Pearson trophies and still didn't get the Hart.

P.S. If you think that ovechkin does everything on his own you are sorely mistaken. The washington lineup is not as bad as you think it is or else firing Hanlon would not have made a difference. Ovie was playing very well when that team was at the bottom of the standings and he wasn't making a difference then!

grapejoos said...

sean martin,
Anyone calling Malkin average is mistaken, he is a great player. No question in my mind. But, he is surrounded by more offensive talent. The Caps have other good players, but they don't have the stable of proven scorers that the Pens had/have. Many of their good players are young and are improving in part because of the golden example Ovechkin sets with his own play. And by the way, it's not just us saying that Ovechkin is doing more on his own than anyone else. It's statistical fact.

And while the Iginla comparison is correct, that was a complete joke, was only the result of a vengeful voter leaving Iginla off the ballot, the Flames were nowhere near as good as the Caps are this year, and Ovechkin's numbers are considerably better this year than Iginla's were that year.

JP said it best: anyone saying Ovechkin shouldn't win the Hart if the Caps don't make the playoffs (which hopefully will be moot) should say that Lemieux didn't deserve it in 87-88.

Jimmy Jazz said...

This isn't a debate.

AO: Heart, soul, flesh, and blood of his team. He's tearing up the franchise and league record book. More than 25% of his team's goal. More than twice as many goals as the second highest scorer. Leads team in virtually every statistical category. Style to spare.

Malkin: Hell of a player. Very likable. He helped--I hesitate to say "carry his team"--but things could have gone south quickly had he not played as well as he did FOR THIRTY PLUS GAMES. NOT EIGHTY-TWO.

My Hart Candidates:
Three way tie for Lidstrom, Brody, and Nabby.

Bobby said...

this is an easy one:

If the Caps didn't have AO would they have won any games? Not many.

The Pens would still be doing well without EM.

Both have had great years.

Anonymous said...

Hey, settle this once and for all -- is Malkin Jewish or not? If he is, he's gotta be the greatest Jewish hockey player ever...

JP said...

I believe he is NOT Jewish, leaving Mathieu Schneider, Mike Cammalleri and Jeff Halpern to duke it out for the title.