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NHL Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals: Was Alex Ovechkin Deserving Of Hart Trophy?

Alex Ovechkin

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With the major awards being handed out throughout the league on Saturday night, perhaps the toughest that needed to be decided was the Hart Trophy, awarded to the league’s most valuable player. When the dust settled, it went to Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin for the third time in his career.

Though the 2013 season was obviously shortened by the lockout, it saw a return to form for Ovechkin, who was coming off a couple of down years by his standards. After a slow start to the year, he picked it up in the second half and carried the Caps to another division title.

At the pace he was rolling at, he very well may have returned to his 80 or 90-point self. He finished the shortened year with 56 points in 48 games. He won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer, with 32 on the season, while also adding 24 assists on the year as well.

Of course, it’s well-documented that it took quite a bit of time for Ovechkin to actually get going this season. With the season starting in late January, he had only three points in the first seven games. He went on to show flashes for the next several weeks, but the middle of March is where he really found his game.

Ovechkin went on an absolutely torrid run in the second half of the season, carrying the Capitals from the league’s biggest disappointment up to the no. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. That second half included a nine-game point streak, which included 10 of his 32 goals. He had another pair of three-game goal streaks in that second half, accounting for another 10.

Whether or not Alex Ovechkin was truly deserving of the Hart Trophy is up for some debate. You could make an argument that both Sidney Crosby and John Tavares, despite a late season injury to the former, deserved the hardware more than Ovechkin did, simply because the award should be based off of the total body of work.

Consider the fact that he had only 22 points prior to the middle of March rolling around before he went on that terrific run. And it really was great. But the fact that he took so long to get going in 2013, and was really streaky when he did find his game, really should have prevented him from taking home the Hart Trophy over the other two candidates that he was up against, who were outstanding from start to finish.