Evgeni Malkin is atop many first-half Hart Trophy lists – and that dominance hasn’t been lost on his peers.
NHL.com polled 38 NHL All-Stars on a variety of subjects and found that Geno was the resounding choice for the first-half MVP, as 23 different players gave the Russian star the nod. (Perhaps you could call him the first-half Ted Lindsay Award winner by extension, then.)
Malkin’s results towered over second-place guy Claude Giroux, who received seven votes. The other categories were far more divided, especially most underrated player, which Kimmo Timonen took with just four votes.
One cannot help but wonder if the “most surprising team” category was swayed a bit by the event taking place in Ottawa; the Senators (13 votes) narrowly edged the St. Louis Blues (12 votes) in that regard. (Then again, plenty of people – myself included – expected the Blues to be in the playoff hunt while few thought much of the Senators’ chances when preseason predictions poured out.)
Click here to view the extended results.
The CBC and NHL Players Association polled players from all 30 NHL teams on a variety of different subjects from fighting to the league’s best players to the quality of cities and arenas.
(You can peruse all of the results here.)
Before we discuss the players who made the best showings, here are some of the more interesting “big picture” findings.
Anyway, getting more specific, players tabbed Sidney Crosby and Pavel Datsyuk for many of the “best skater” categories. The polls also show that Steven Stamkos has a ways to go before he earns top player recognition.
Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings was named in the most categories, 10, with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins being mentioned in nine. But Crosby received more than 50 votes in seven of those categories, while in five of the categories Datsyuk is mentioned the Russian received fewer than 10 votes.
Crosby finished atop the voting in five categories — the smartest, the toughest forward to play against, the toughest player overall to face, the best role model, and top player to start a franchise with. Datsyuk got the nod as the cleanest player and the toughest to take the puck from.
Venerable Detroit defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom placed in nine categories, while Alexander Ovechkin received votes in eight, including the pick of goaltenders as the toughest skater to face.
Steve Stamkos of Tampa Bay Lightning is an emerging star, but perhaps still under the radar a bit. Stamkos got votes in seven categories but never received more than 15 votes in any of them (He got 15 for a distant second place to Crosby in “player to start a franchise with” polling).
Again, click here to find out who won the individual categories. There are some interesting answers, for sure.