Hart punnery abounds, it must be that time of year again.
So let's get this out of the way. I think Goalies are/should be exempt from MVP billing. Pound for pound, the goalie is typically the most valuable single player on the ice night in and out. Historically, goalies are ignored for this award. If Kiprusoff can't win the award for turning Calgary around in 03-04 and setting an NHL record in the process, I don't see why any goalie this year qualifies. Brodeur and Luongo are mentioned frequently, but while both are excellent goaltenders I'm not sure either are exceptional enough to be considered MVP candidates at this time.
So let's review some of the potential skaters: Iginla, Lidstrom, Malkin, Ovechkin. All four of these players are having outstanding seasons, to be sure. I would not be overly upset if any of them won. The best way to determine, out of these players, who should win is by process of elimination.
Malkin (4th place): While he's been sensational this year, Conklin is more responsible for where this team is today than Malkin is. I dare say, Conklin was more valuable than Malkin was during their hot streak. He's a top-end producer, but he's not the most valuable player on any given team.
Lidstrom (3rd place): Best defenseman this year, he'll get another Norris. Problem is, with Detroit's depth and success, I'm not sure he's the kind of player that deserves MVP nod -- does he strap the team to his back and carry them to hell and back? No, he's more or less an outstanding defenseman. The depth and strong team play of Detroit really much vetoes this entry. Damien Cox has renewed his idiot certification when discussing this very topic. There are countless things wrong with his op-ed, the most obvious of which is he points to how poorly Detroit played sans Lidstrom. As someone who actually pays attention to teams outside of Toronto, I have an advantage over Cox here: I'm actually aware the Wings are 0-6-1 prior to Lidstrom's injury as well too. Oops.
Ovechkin (2nd place): Outstanding player. Produced better offensive numbers than Iginla. Always is busting his ass. Problem is, he's not bringing the team up to the level they need to be to be competitive. They're looking at the playoffs from the outside, and as valuable as Ovechkin is, he isn't pulling his team to the promised land and that means everything. He'll win MVP at some point, but not yet. (Note: This is assuming they still miss the playoffs, but there is a chance they do make it. If he does, he's going to win the MVP).
Iginla (the winner). Yeah, sure, he's a Flame and this is a Flames blog. But the best way to determine MVP is this: remove the player from the team, will they make the playoffs? Without Iggy, Calgary would likely miss. Without Ovechkin, Washington would definitely miss but are already. Without Malkin, that team can still do tons of damage and can make the playoffs. Without Lidstrom, Detroit is still a lock as a playoff team. Iginla does everything and he does everything so well, he's the idyllic captain who picks the team up, throws them on his back, and rides into the playoffs. He's at the top of his game, and his game is more well-rounded than Ovechkin is and he's using that experience to drive the team to the playoffs. He's the MVP this year.
There's an ice hockey game tonight in Denver! Let me check the schedule -- yep, it's another divisional game! Golly gee, shocking. An astronomically unlikely high-scoring game against Minnie is the precursor to this game, and let's just say if we decide to play that style of game against Colorado we're seven degrees of screwed (I don't know what this means, but it sounds pretty good to my ears). 1 point out of 1st in the NW with a slumping Minnie playing everybody's favourite AHL team, and this is going to be one tense night.
Really not much else to say, aside from we need us a win. GOFLAMES. GO.