Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ovechkin for Hart, Was it the Right Call?

Sidney Crosby had it in the bag. When he broke his jaw on March 30, he was unquestionably the Most Valuable Player in the NHL. He was the scoring leader up until the very last week of the season despite not playing. Even though Ovechkin went on a goal scoring tear in the second half, many people feel that Crosby still should have been awarded the Hart. The final voting was indeed one of the closest ever ending up 1,090 to 1,058. Ovechkin garnered 50 first place votes to Crosby's 46.

Some of the issues raised are the fact that Ovechkin played in the weakest divison in the NHL and the fact that he ended up with the same number of points as Crosby while playing 12 more games. Let's have a look.

1.) Ovechkin played in the weakest divison in the NHL.

It's true that Ovie played 18 of his 48 games against the Southeast Division, and he definitely had far more success playing these opponents, the truth is, Crosby also lit up the Southeast.

vs. SE Div.
Ovechkin  18GP-16G-13A-29Pts, +10
Crosby      11GP-6G-15A-21Pts, +6

If we look at their numbers while playing the rest of the NHL we see a clear advantage in Crosby's favour:

vs. Non SE Div
Ovechkin  30GP-16G-11A-27Pts, -8
Crosby      26GP-8G-32A-40Pts, +11

2.)Ovechkin played 12 more games than Crosby.

This is an easy fix, and it only makes Ovechkin look better. Since he had a slow start, let's remove his first dozen games and see how Ovie's final 36 games compare to Crosby's:

Final 36 games.
Ovechkin  28G-20A-48Pts, +6
Crosby      15G-41A-56Pts, +26

Now the numbers tighten up considerably. Crosby scored at a 128 point full season pace, but Ovechkin scored at a 64 goal full season pace.

In my opinion this one is really a toss-up and the tight voting result illustrates that. In the end, I have no real problem with Ovechkin winning this year's Hart Trophy.

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