Hart Trophy

Nikita Kucherov caps NHL Awards haul with Hart Trophy

Things didn’t go as planned for Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning once the postseason began, but the 2019 NHL Awards serve as a helpful reminder that they made history through the 82-game regular season.

No Lightning player enjoyed a better season than Kucherov, and he was awarded appropriately on Wednesday. Kucherov won the 2019 Hart Trophy, which joins the 2019 Ted Lindsay Award (the player-voted version of the Hart), and the scoring title, i.e. the 2019 Art Ross Trophy.

He also enjoyed a wonderfully awkward comic segment with “Tony Babcock,” aka Thomas Middleditch, so it was a big night for Kucherov.

Kucherov beat finalists Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) for the Hart Trophy, which is the sort of sentence you lead with when you’re making a Hall of Fame argument.

Here are the voting results:

Taylor Hall won the Hart Trophy last year, McDavid captured the 2016-17 Hart Trophy, and Sidney Crosby last won it in 2013-14.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

TSN may have spoiled tonight’s NHL awards

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We were all tipped off about Montreal’s P.K. Subban winning this year’s Norris Trophy earlier this week, but there’s no way the other big award winners would get leaked early… Right?

On TSN’s Insider Trading segment Bob McKenzie, in speaking about Subban’s reported win, said other players were given a heads-up about who was going to take home what.

“In fact, Subban is the Norris Trophy winner. And now we’re hearing word that Jonathan Huberdeau will be in Chicago on Saturday. You can infer from that that the Florida Panther forward is going to be the rookie of the year.”

Darren Dreger followed that up saying that neither Sidney Crosby nor John Tavares would be in Chicago for the Hart Trophy award tonight and Alex Ovechkin, who is in Russia, would accept the award via video. While that’s not confirmation Ovechkin is going to win it, it’s about as close as it can get.

Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston says Chicago’s Jonathan Toews kept his Selke Trophy win a tight-knit secret with his family and that award winners have known for a while that they were victorious.

If you’re a fan of suspense, this was not the year for you to have a stake in the NHL awards as the Lindsay Award and Vezina Trophy are the only two left with an element of surprise for the time being.

Should Martin Brodeur retire if the Devils win the Cup?

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Let’s just get the question out of the way: Should Martin Brodeur retire if New Jersey wins the Cup?

All season long Brodeur has talked like a guy who seems pretty set on coming back next season, even when he’s saying he’s not 100-percent sure. Retirement is on his mind but it hasn’t seemed to be his motivation this year. After all, he’s looked great in the playoffs and for the entire second half of the season and he’s told Renaud Lavoie from RDS he has no intention to retire after the playoffs.

Still though, if the Devils go on to win the Stanley Cup this season, what’s left for Brodeur to do?

A Cup this year would be his fourth, giving him as many as Patrick Roy had in his career and twice as many as Dominik Hasek. If Brodeur managed to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, that would give him one award, aside from the Hart Trophy, that’s eluded him in his Hall-Of-Fame career. At 40-years-old, finding new records to set and awards to win when you’re already, arguably, the best goaltender in history might prove impossible.

Going out riding high is everyone’s dream, but for Brodeur going out when he’s good and ready to seems to be more likely. No one wants to see a legendary player go out the way say Michael Jordan did in ignominy in Washington as a Wizard rather than as a champion in Chicago.

What do you think? If the Devils win it all, should Marty take a seat? Vote in our poll or leave us a comment.

Watch Evgeni Malkin hit the century mark

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The Pittsburgh Penguins suffered a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Wednesday, but Evgeni Malkin did improve his chances of winning the Hart Trophy by reaching the 100-point mark. You can check out the play below.

Malkin has missed seven games this season, but no one is even close to him in terms of points. That being said, Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist could both give him a run for his money in the Hart Trophy vote.

Pavel Datsyuk climbs the scoring ranks

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For several years, Pavel Datsyuk was considered something of a hockey connoisseur’s Hart Trophy pick. Despite scoring at a great rate in just about every season, he always seemed resigned to settle for a Selke Trophy because Datsyuk fell a few strides short of being a top scorer.

It seemed that would happen again this season, but all of a sudden the ludicrously slick forward is making a meteoric rise up the scoring ranks, as Ansar Khan discusses here.

With 11 goals and 30 assists in his last 30 games, Datsyuk’s 51 overall points ties him with Steven Stamkos and Joffrey Lupul for third place overall in the NHL.

The Sedin twins and Evgeni Malkin will surely give Datsyuk everything he can handle in the Art Ross Trophy race, but considering his fantastic two-way play and eye-grabbing style, one cannot help but wonder if he’ll finally get serious Hart consideration from the guys who cast the ballots.

Who’s your early NHL MVP, then?