Patrick Kane (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
We asked the question Thurday over whether Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews was snubbed in NHLPA voting for the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the league’s “Most Outstanding Player.” On Friday, the NHL announced the Hart Trophy finalists, given to the league’s “Most VALUABLE Player,” and once again, Kane and Toews were left off the list.
Instead, it was Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby both picking up their second nomination in two days, and newcomer John Tavares of the New York Islanders getting the third slot in the group.
The decision was met with a shoulder shrug by most Blackhawks fans, but not among certain NHL players, apparently. Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks sarcastically told the media of the Eastern Conference sweep of the six nominations between the two awards “We were pretty well aware that it was going to be all East this year. That’s just the way it is.”
According to Craig Custance of ESPN.com, “Getzlaf mentioned Chicago’s Jonathan Toews as a player he thought was deserving of a spot in the top three.” While his insinuation of East Coast bias doesn’t hold water in the eyes of most, including Yahoo’s Greg Wyshynski, who pointed out that three of the last seven Hart winners have come from the West, it apparently isn’t some isolated feeling.
Tim Sassone of The Daily Herald wrote in his blog today:
“Toews finished with 23 goals, 48 points, and was plus-28 and was thought to be a lock for the final three for the Hart.
“I’m honored that you guys would even say that,” Toews told reporters after Thursday’s 5-1 win over Minnesota that eliminated the Wild. “I think there’s another guy across the room there (Patrick Kane) that deserves it just as much, probably more.””
The selflessness of Toews aside, his shoulder shrug over any supposed “snub” is the real story here. Yes, it does seem like the media in the hockey world do focus more on Eastern players, but with 17 teams playing in the Eastern time zone, that is going to be inevitable.
Even still, it is good to see players like Getzlaf giving Toews and Kane credit for the seasons that they have had for the Blackhawks, but at least in the eyes of the Hawks’ best players, the individual honors are only peripheral when it comes to their ultimate goal, and that is attaining another Stanley Cup championship for the Windy City.