Ryan Getzlaf

Ducks captain Getzlaf: We knew MVP candidates would be all East

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Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t surprised to learn that neither he nor Chicago captain Jonathan Toews were named finalists for this year’s Hart Trophy.

Not surprised at all.

“We were pretty well aware it was going to be all East this year,” Getzlaf told ESPN’s Craig Custance. “That’s just the way it is.”

Getzlaf led the Ducks with 49 points in 44 games this season — pacing Anaheim to the third-best overall record in the league — while Toews was Chicago’s second-leading scorer (48 points in 47 games) while captaining the club to its first Presidents’ Trophy in over 20 years.

Yet when the voting results were made public, neither Getzlaf nor Toews was a finalist.

Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and John Tavares were announced on Friday as the three nominees — and Getzlaf has a theory on how that came to be.

“The only time the media in the East sees anyone in the West is when we play them,” he explained. “You’re not going to see our games, the media, staying up to 1 or 2 in the morning to watch.”

The Hart Trophy is one of five awards voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, along with the Selke, Vezina Norris, Calder and Lady Byng.

This year, according to Custance, 46.4 percent of voters were from Eastern Conference cities, 32.8 percent were from Western Conference cities and 20.8 percent were from an international chapter that doesn’t cover specific teams.

Custance also noted that a record 178 PHWA members voted this year.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)