March 28, 2011
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
It's adorable that everyone is climbing aboard the "Corey Perry for Hart" bandwagon.
Now sure, he has been spectacular in the month of March, scoring 12 times in his last nine games, adding four assists and running his season goal total to a league-leading 44. There is now legitimate conversation, at least on the Internet, that Perry should be voted league MVP.
Some might think that this late push came just a bit too late to matter, but
there are a number of more significant reasons that this will probably never happen.
First and foremost, he just doesn't look like he's going to get to 100 points, which in almost every instance seems like the magical cutoff point for a forward to even be considered for the award. Since the 1970s, a grand total of two forwards have won a Hart without also reaching the century mark. They were Martin St. Louis(notes), who scored a league-leading 94 in 2003-04 (the height of the dead puck era when just 41 goals was enough to win the Rocket Richard comfortably), and Eric Lindros, who scored a league-leading 70 in the strike-shortened 1994-95 season.
For all the March madness, Perry just isn't going to catch Daniel Sedin's(notes) point total in the last seven games of the season, and would need to average better than two points a night from here on out to even break 100.
The other problem, and one that really shouldn't be an issue at all, is that Anaheim is currently a borderline playoff team, and might not end up playing in the postseason. This is, for some reason, an incredibly important factor for sportswriters, who think you can't have been valuable if your team didn't make the playoffs.
(Coming Up: History will be made with Anze Kopitar's(notes) ankle; Jimmy Howard(notes) injury update; Marc Savard's(notes) memory problems; Hejduk's goal streak continues; Jordan Leopold(notes) is done; the Hurricanes drop a must-win; the Flower blooms while Cam wilts; Steve Downie(notes) feels targeted; Lupul's tummy time; the Sharks own the Coyotes, and didn't even ask Glendale for any funding; how to get Paul Stastny(notes) on the Leafs; and is Sidney back this week?)
In fact, this is so rare in all sports that the last time I can even remember it happening was when Alex Rodriguez won the MVP with the last-place Texas Rangers because he hit just about every baseball pitched to him about six miles. And sportswriters still talk about the injustice of it all.
This bias is obviously stupid and may end up moot anyway. As the Dallas Stars seem intent on fading from contention and a Kopitar-less Kings probably don't scare anyone these days. But the people that vote on these awards tend to put a lot of weight behind this consideration, so it's important to keep in mind.
Hell, Jarome Iginla's(notes) seemingly Faustian deal with the devil to score 52 goals in 2002-03 on THAT Flames team didn't win him a Hart. The legend goes that Iginla only lost because some Montreal reporter left him off a ballot completely, and while we probably won't ever know why, this reason is at least one you can infer with some amount of confidence.
The last time this actually happened in the NHL was when Mario Lemieux broke up Wayne Gretzky's streak of eight consecutive Harts in 1987-88 by scoring 70 goals and 168 points in 77 games for a Pittsburgh team that somehow finished just one game above .500.
And I like Perry just fine and everything, but the dude isn't Mario Lemieux, and his numbers are simply not that insane.
And let's just be honest: Daniel Sedin has had his name engraved on this award since Stamkos started fading from his ridiculous pace early in the year (he's only scored five goals since February began!) and Sid Crosby got super-double concussed. I can barely even remember the Jonathan-Toews-for-Hart talk and that was like a week ago.
Talk of anyone besides Sedin winning it would now officially take at least two Ovechtricks from the interloper in the last half-dozen games of the season.
What Perry's done has been remarkable, but it's really not going to matter even a little bit to voters.
What We Learned
Atlanta Thrashers: Hey Craig Ramsay, your team lost to the Canucks and were all but eliminated from the playoffs, only scored one goal at home and had a brutal middle of the second period. What'd you think? "Other than that it was a wonderful game." Yeah, hey, at least you held em to three, right?
Buffalo Sabres: Jordan Leopold is done for the rest of the regular season and probably part of the playoffs too. Assuming the Sabres make it. Which, given the lack of Leopold (who's been a revelation on their blue line) is not a guarantee.
Calgary Flames: Upon rampaging back to beat the Oilers 5-4 in a shootout after tailing by three goals, Jarome Iginla said, "That gives us life. We want to learn from that and learn that we can't play not to lose." Dude, you needed to almost drop one to the Oilers in March to figure that out?
Chicago Blackhawks: Not to beat a rapidly-expiring horse, but another reason Jonathan Toews(notes) has no chance to win the Hart any more is that he did just about as much watching as anyone in the stands while Perry took over Saturday night's game, which was a must-win for both teams.
Colorado Avalanche: Milan Hejduk(notes) scored his 20th goal of the season on Saturday. This is notable because it's now the 11th straight season in which he's netted at least that many. Hey remember that time he won the Rocket Richard? Yup, me neither.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Hey that Matt Calvert(notes) kid has seemed awful quiet lately, huh? The reason for that is apparently that he has just three shots in his last seven games. None of them have gone into the net.
Dallas Stars: The Stars really do seem more like setting suns these days, don't they? Just 1-3-2 in the last six games and slipping deeper and deeper down the Western Conference table as a result. However, they're still only two points out and have a game in hand on Anaheim so any time someone like, say, Brad Richards(notes), wants to start playing for that contract on July 1, that'd be just fine by Marc Crawford.
Detroit Red Wings: Jimmy Howard gave everyone a hell of a scare when he left Saturday's game with a shoulder injury, but word is he's just day-to-day and the injury isn't significant. For a minute, Detroit fans were looking at the real possibility of an Osgood/MacDonald playoff tandem. That would have been a treat. Well, for their first-round opponent anyway.
Florida Panthers: The Panthers were officially bounced from playoff contention on Friday and that's only notable because it's now the longest drought without a playoff appearance in NHL history. Previously, Florida shared the dishonor with Golden Seals/Barons/North Stars and Rockies/Devils franchises. And by the way, they're gonna stretch it to 11 next year.
Los Angeles Kings: It took all of three hours for Kings fans to turn Kopitar's season-ending ankle injury into a "History Will be Made" video. Your move, rest of the NHL.
Nashville Predators: David Legwand(notes) seems like a hell of a nice guy. On Friday, he had two easy looks at empty-net goals that would have iced a win over Anaheim, but he passed up both of them to try to get Sergei Kostitsyn(notes) a hat trick (unsuccessfully). Barry Trotz was pissed, so Legwand scored into an empty net on Saturday and ol' No-Neck didn't have a thing to say about it.
New York Rangers: The Rangers beat the Bruins 1-0 on Saturday afternoon, leaving many in Boston fretting that the potential playoff matchup was not favorable. 'Course you could've said that about Montreal prior to that 7-0 shellacking last week so maybe all they need is to have Chara put Artem Anisimov(notes) in the hospital and get the cops called on him.
Ottawa Senators: Dany Alfredsson joined the Senators on their three-game road trip so he can test himself out in time to play maybe like five minutes or something in the last game of another lost season. I think he just wanted to get out of the house.
Phoenix Coyotes: The Coyotes got pummeled by the Sharks on Saturday and haven't beaten them in eight tries, but the good news is they only have two more games against them in the regular season and might play them in the postseason.
San Jose Sharks: Logan Couture(notes) had that scary run-in with the endboards last week, and like Bruce Banner being exposed to gamma rays and Peter Parker being bitten by some a radioactive spider, it seems to have turned him into a super hero. Two ginos and an apple Saturday to get to 30 goals on the season. In the two games between, he also had a goal and an assist. Whoa!
Tampa Bay Lightning: Boo hoo I'm Steve Downie and the refs are targeting me. Yeah hey buddy remember that time you got suspended for 20 games? Right. That's why. There's no mystery. Also, that 10-minute misconduct he got for shooting the puck after the whistle? Yeah, he was warned not to do that earlier in the game.
Washington Capitals: The reason the NHL won't have any Premier games in Russia? KHL president Alexander Medvedev says they wanted too much money but the more likely reason is that he didn't want two NHL teams playing each other, but rather a couple of KHL squads. Russians being unreasonable about the KHL? Who would have guessed?
The Penguins' offense has pretty much evaporated in recent games — who would have guessed!? — but Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) picked up a 21-save shutout on Friday and stopped 37 in a 2-1 shootout win on Sunday. Why, he should be MVP!!!! (No he shouldn't.)
Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week
User "Leafsss" might be biased.
2nd/3rd Round Pick 2012 (depending on Mac's point totals, 50+ = 2nd)
Did you polish your head in the Shine-O Ball-O?