Who won the NHL’s Hart Trophy this year? If you ask this anchor in Australia, the answer is not Alex Ovechkin. For more anti-Russian bias from countries that were at one time under the rule of the United Kingdom, read on.
Photo by Margaret McGuire
Tonight, Alex Ovechkin was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s MVP. It’s the third time in his career he’s won the award.
It’s a big freaking deal, especially if we consider the context of the local sports landscape. According to CSN’s Ben Raby, no DC-based athlete of any of the major four sports has ever won the MVP more than twice (the Senators’ Walter Johnson did so in 1913 and 1924). As much as Redskins fans love RGIII, this may even be a feat even he cannot accomplish.
Ovi, of course, looked relaxed when making his acceptance speech. With Paris in the background, Ovi thanked everyone from the coaches to the trainers and also credited his move to right wing as the catalyst that led to his huge year. The video seems to have been recorded when he was in Paris with fiancée Maria Kirilenko for the French Open, with cheering heard in the background and some lovely architecture behind him.
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.
The NHL awards are always a weird hodgpodge affair of C-list celebrities and jokes that seemed funny before they were read off the teleprompter, but we got our own slice of specialized absurdity tonight, just for the Caps. In the video below, former Arrested Development star Will Arnett impersonates Brendan Shanahan — bored monotone and all — and disciplines Alex Ovechkin for a parking violation.
…Actually, we can see that happening.
Photo credit: Ethan Miller
Wednesday was a night of hardware in the NHL as the league’s annual awards show took place in Las Vegas. The night’s biggest winners? Corey Perry of the Ducks picked up the Hart, Ryan Kesler of the Canucks hoisted the Selke, baby-faced Jeff Skinner of the ‘Canes took home the Calder, Stanley Cup champion Bruin Tim Thomas won the Vezina and Washington fan favorite Disco Dan Bylsma of the Pens presented with the Jack Adams Award.
So how did the Capitals fare?