Photo credit: Paul Chiasson
Over the next five days, the Capitals will finish the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season with three home games. The Caps’ match-ups with Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Boston will not only determine if Washington wins the Southeast Division and makes the playoffs, they’ll also sort out the trophy races that Alex Ovechkin is involved in. Ovechkin, after not winning any hardware since 2010, is in contention for four awards: the Ted Lindsey trophy for players’ MVP, the Art Ross trophy (for most points), the Maurice Richard trophy (for most goals), and the Hart trophy (for most valuable player).
While The Great Eight and his peers control his destiny with three of these four awards, the esteemed members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association will decide the Hart Trophy. This is the same media that in the last three years has literally flogged Ovechkin with a spiked 2 x 4 painted with a red maple leaf and dripping with Tim Horton’s coffee. Because when every great player gets older and his team becomes less aggressive, it’s the media’s moral obligation to antagonize him to casual fans and excoriate him at every turn.
I mean, look at some of this stuff.
Despite there being strong evidence that Ovechkin has carried his team and done exactly what the Hart trophy entails, he still has detractors. I’m not blind to the fantastic seasons of Sergei Bobrovsky, John Tavares, Sidney Crosby, and Jonathan Toews, but if the Capitals make the playoffs after such an awful start, Ovechkin deserves the Hart trophy. Period.
Here’s something you can do to get Ovi over these last three games. Every time he scores a goal, makes a big hit, or hell– any time his name is growled by Wes Johnson, chant M – V – P! Because optics matter. A Captain with uniform support of his fans looks ever slightly more attractive to the media members who pick the Hart.
So create your own signs, or print out the one I made below.
Let the NHL world know that Ovi deserves recognition. He’s successfully switched to right wing, changed his game, revolutionized the power play, and scored like it was 2008 or something. Seasons like this can’t happen every year, so enjoy it and cheer it on. And while you’re taking it all in, shout like a madman.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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