During the fall, the NHL lockout was excruciating for fans. It wiped out 34 games and made both the NHL and NHLPA look petty, as both sides were unwilling to make actual compromise until a drop dead date for the entire season was announced in January. The sport rebounded well when it started up again. Attendance surged in the 48-game shortened season and the NHL is currently enjoying its greatest ratings ever in a Stanley Cup Final since 1997.
But the NHL awards so far have been a disaster. Because of the compressed schedule, the league was forced to cancel its postseason award show in Las Vegas. Instead, the NHL is announcing its winners on TV and letting the players know days beforehand so that they could either fly out to Chicago or do video acceptance speeches. On Friday, the first batch of award winners were announced on the NHL Network during rush-hour traffic. Tonight, the second batch of awards, which includes the Calder, Hart, Norris, Lindsay, and Vezina, will be announced at 7pm on NBC an hour before game two of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin is up for both the Hart and Lindsay awards.
Naturally, because of the advanced notice, there have been leaks. Several days ago, it was reported PK Subban won the Norris. Bob McKenzie is reporting that Jonathan Huberdeau has won the Calder. And now TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that Ovechkin has won the Hart trophy as the NHL’s MVP.
Dreger elaborated on TSN’s Insider Trading segment, which also featured analysts Bob McKenzie, James Duthie, and Pierre LeBrun.
Attendance isn’t mandatory, even for winners. We’re pretty decent travel detectives. You make a call; you dig a little bit. Sidney Crosby is not coming to Chicago [to accept an award]. John Tavares’ not making his way to Chicago. Alexander Ovechkin’s believed to be the winner of the Hart, but he’s not going to be in Chicago either. His acceptance speech will be via video tape. It’s trying times for the National Hockey League.
Further evidence that Ovechkin has won the Hart trophy comes from the NHL who emailed a press release earlier in the day. They announced that winners of the Lindsay, Calder, Norris, and Vezina trophies will be available via a conference call at 7:45pm tonight, which would be 3:45am Moscow time.
The winner of the Hart trophy is instead scheduled to speak to the media Sunday at 10am eastern time, which in Moscow would be 6pm. If we use common sense, it appears Ovechkin has not won the Lindsay award, the MVP as voted by players. We take back every bad thing we said about the PHWA yesterday.
Ovi’s victory appears to be a certainty, with informed people like Steve Simmons also tweeting that Ovechkin has won the award.
This is perfect: Alex Ovechkin, who had a red-hot half season in Washington, wins Hart Trophy in what amounts to half a real NHL season
— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) June 15, 2013
The Hart will be the third of Ovi’s career. He’s also won the Lindsay three times, the Richard three times, the Art Ross once, and the Calder — as rookie of the year — in 2006.
Congrats, Ovi. Bailamos! Since you’re not in Vegas to enjoy Nickelback, I’ll let them take us out with their amaaaaaazing performance of Burn It To The Ground from last year’s show.
NHL, you’re so hip.