Sometimes it takes a loss to understand how important a player is to his team. The Capitals lost 5-0 to the Blackhawks last night. In a game where the Capitals failed to score, it was more apparent than ever how Alexander Ovechkin is the league MVP.
A week or so ago, Ek posted the "Who Would You Build Your Team Around" blog.
The options...Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin.
I tried to be as honest as I could in thinking through this.
I said back then that I would build around Sidney...and today I still feel that way.
But part of that great debate went off on a bit of a tangent about who the MVP should be this year.
There is a decent amount of sentiment that Marty Brodeur is deserving of the award...or maybe Jarome Iginla from the Flames.
While I believe both Brodeur and Iginla are more than appropriate choices, I just don't think there is any way this award should go to anybody but Ovechkin.
I realize that only ONE other time has the award gone to a player from a non-playoff team...that was Mario Lemieux in 1988...and currently the Capitals are in a dogfight for the 8th spot in the East...so a Caps playoff birth is anything but sure at this point.
But based on what I have seen this season, both on tv and in person, I can't think of a player that better defines the reason for why the award should be given, than AO.
He, as the latest NHL add suggests, has "Live(d) Every Shift", especially since signing his new contract earlier this year.
You may not like some of his play, but you can't help but be respectful of his heart and desire to win. He gives his all on every shift of every game and he has single handedly taken the Caps from an after thought to a potential playoff team.
People will probably compare AO and Crosby for years to come. And hopefully if both stay healthy we will see things we only dreamed possible from the two of them. And, hopefully, like Gretzky and Lemieux, the debate about who was the best will go on long after they both retire.
But this year undoubtedly belongs to Ovechkin. Even if the Caps fail to make the playoffs, he still deserves the award.
And maybe it takes a game where he doesn't have his best stuff...and he and the Caps fail to score, to emphasize even more, how he is the right choice for the Hart Trophy this year.
Let's hope the people who make the decision see it this way too.