James Dean day dream. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
When Barry Trotz took over, some fans were afraid the Capitals would switch to a tight checking, boring style of play, wringing the joy out of watching players like Alex Ovechkin. Far from it. Tonight, Ovechkin was nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy, the league’s Most Valuable Player award, for the fifth time, having won the award three times before. Though at the tail end of his 20s, Ovechkin has continued to be league’s premier sniper. He ran away with NHL’s goal scoring race by over 10 goals, netting 53 tallies on his way to his third consecutive Rocket Richard Trophy. Ovechkin also finished fourth in the league in points while his 25 power play goals provided the cornerstone for the NHL’s best man advantage unit.
The Hart Trophy is voted on at the end of the regular season by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, with the winners to be announced at the Las Vegas Awards ceremony after the season. The other Hart nominees were Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and John Tavares of the New York Islanders.
Here’s the press release from the league.
NEW YORK (April 29, 2015) – Forward Alex Ovechkin of the Washington
Capitals, goaltender Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and forward John
Tavares of the New York Islanders are the three finalists for the 2014-15
Hart Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player adjudged to be the
most valuable to his team,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submitted
ballots for the Hart Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with
the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be
announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand
Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Following are the finalists for the Hart Trophy, in alphabetical
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Ovechkin scored 53 goals to capture his third consecutive and fifth
overall Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and also posted 81 points – his
most since 2010-11 – to power the Capitals to their seventh playoff berth
in the past eight seasons. He became the sixth player in NHL history to
record six 50-goal seasons, led the League and set a career high/franchise
record with 25 power-play goals and also paced the NHL with 11 game-winning
goals (equaling a career high set in 2010-11). Ovechkin is a Hart Trophy
finalist for the fifth time after winning the award in 2007-08, 2008-09 and
2012-13 and finishing as a runner-up in 2009-10.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Price captured his first career William M. Jennings Trophy as well as
the sixth in Canadiens history to backstop the club to its best regular
season since 1988-89. He led the NHL in wins (44), goals-against average
(1.96) and save percentage (.933), becoming the first goaltender to pace
the League in all three categories since Ed Belfour in 1990-91. In doing
so, Price surpassed Jacques Plante’s 59-year-old franchise record for wins
in one season (42), set in 1955-56 and equaled in 1961-62 and 1975-76. He
is a Hart Trophy finalist for the first time and the first goaltender among
the finalists since 2011-12 (Henrik Lundqvist).
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Tavares set career highs in goals (38) and points (86) to finish
second in the Art Ross Trophy race and lead the Islanders to their best
regular-season record since 1983-84. Tavares, who appeared in all 82 games,
registered at least one point in 65.9% of his contests (54/82), including a
four-game streak to open the season (2-7—9) and a six-game run to close the
campaign (4-8—12). He also scored four overtime goals to establish a
single-season franchise record and Islanders career record (8). Tavares is
a Hart Trophy finalist for the second time after finishing third in voting
The Hart Memorial Trophy was presented by the National Hockey League
in 1960 after the original Hart Trophy was retired to the Hockey Hall of
Fame. The original Hart Trophy was donated to the NHL in 1924 by Dr. David
A. Hart, father of Cecil Hart, former manager-coach of the Montreal
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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