12 March 2007

MVP race wide-open

I know I've mentioned it before (probably too many times) but I don't put much - if any - stock in who wins end-of-season awards. However, it's still interesting to talk about (that seeming dichotomy can make sense if you believe, as i do, that winning an award doesn't automatically make the player the best *whatever*). So this year...who's your MVP? There's a good chance it's going to a goalie this year, with Roberto Luongo and Martin Brodeur putting up not just the numbers but almost willing their teams to the top of their divisions (and now New Jersey is pushing Buffalo for tops in the East). I picked Sidney Crosby to win it in the preseason, and I'm sticking with him as the first to 100 points and just dominating games as no 19-year old has since #99 patrolled Northlands back in 1979.

I'll be writing more about these guys later, but here are two quick lists I whipped up.

A-level candidates: the best chance of walking away with the Hart Trophy in June. This doesn't necessarily correlate to "best" - as any voted-upon award, it's all subjective. Given the press generated by these players and/or the markets they play in, I'm confident this year's MVP will come from this group:

Roberto Luongo
Martin Brodeur
Sidney Crosby
Vincent Lecavalier

B-level candidates: players that won't win it for a host of reasons (competition from teammates, lack of press, etc.), but take a backseat to none of the above players:

Daniel Briere
Martin St. Louis
Jarome Iginla
Chris Pronger
Marian Hossa
Teemu Selanne

I'm probably missing some but these are the first to pop into my head.

Interesting fact: only seven times in 82 years has the award been given to a goaltender. Over half the winners have been centers. The award winners overall belong to a highly exclusive group as you can see by the repeat winners over the years. Here's how the winners break down positionally:

C: 42 (nine by Wayne Gretzky, three each Mario Lemieux, Bobby Clarke, Howie Morenz)
LW: 6 (none since Bobby Hull's back-to-back wins in 1965-1966)
RW: 15 (six by Gordie Howe)
D: 12 (four by Eddie Shore, three by Bobby Orr)
G: 7

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