Sunday Insider: Two-man race for NHL MVP

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 9, 2011 - 11:50 PM

Corey Perry pushed Anaheim into playoff contention, giving him the nod over the brilliance of another Sedin.


Anaheim's Corey Perry, here celebrating with veteran center Saku Koivu, is Michael Russo's pick for the Hart Trophy.

Photo: Chris Schneider, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Should it be Daniel or Corey?

The debate begins every year when the NHL awards ballot hits the inbox, but this year may be the biggest mind twister in years as members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association cast their votes this week on a variety of NHL hardware.

The nose-to-nose photo finish that nobody could have envisioned a month ago is the race for the Hart Trophy, which goes to the player deemed most valuable to his team.

One year after his twin brother, Henrik, was named MVP, the Vancouver Canucks' Daniel Sedin appeared to have this all sewn up until Anaheim power forward Corey Perry began an incredible offensive tear that has the Ducks headed for the postseason.

Over a 15-game stretch heading into Saturday's games, Perry scored 19 goals and 29 points. Over that run, the Ducks went 11-4. Before the run, the Ducks were 11th in the West and seemingly in trouble with goalie Jonas Hiller sidelined because of vertigo.

Daniel Sedin has arguably been the NHL's most consistent player all season for the NHL's best team, yet without Perry scoring like a madman during the season's most critical juncture, the Ducks would be vacationing with the Wild starting Monday.

And it's not like Perry was some slouch before that. Before Saturday, he led the NHL with 50 goals, was second to Sedin with 97 points, led the NHL with 21 third-period goals and had scored 25 goals to tie the score or put the Ducks ahead.

He has scored 17 goals and 31 points in 23 games against a much tougher Pacific Division than Sedin's 11 goals and 27 points in 24 games against the weakest division in hockey, the Northwest.

But here's my rationale for picking Perry.

The Canucks are the deepest team in the league. There's no glaring weakness. Daniel Sedin has his sidekick brother, Henrik, and he has Ryan Kesler, who in my mind is every bit as valuable as Sedin.

To use a Ken Hitchcock term, Kesler is a "200-foot player."

Yes, Perry has Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf (missed six weeks this year) on the same line, but even with Teemu Selanne's wonderful season, the Ducks are not the Canucks. And without Perry's surge at the most important stage of the season, the Ducks wouldn't be in the playoffs.

So, along with the rest of my picks, here's my Hart winner -- Perry. Runners-up: Daniel Sedin; Kesler; Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh; Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay.

Norris (best defenseman): Ageless Nicklas Lidstrom may still be the best defenseman in the NHL. Nobody makes it look so easy. But where would Boston be without 6-9 behemoth Zdeno Chara? The immovable wall can dominate a game through his tremendous play and intimidation. He plays half the game, puts up enough points to still be considered offensive and he's a plus-31. Runners-up: Lidstrom; Shea Weber, Nashville; Keith Yandle, Phoenix; Lubomir Visnovsky, Anaheim.

Calder (best rookie): All year long, I was leaning toward San Jose stud rookie Logan Couture. But what Jeff Skinner did for Carolina as the NHL's youngest player was remarkable. The kid scored some sensational goals and helped keep the Hurricanes in the playoff race with a lot less support than Couture. Runners-up: Couture; Michael Grabner, N.Y. Islanders; Corey Crawford, Chicago; John Carlson, Washington.

Selke (best defensive forward): Kesler should win this hands-down. He's an offensive and defensive force, is a penalty-kill stud, uses his size and physicality to nullify opponents in all three zones. In my mind, this guy has developed into Vancouver's most important fixture. Runners-up: Frans Nielsen, N.Y. Islanders; Jonathan Toews, Chicago; Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles; Brooks Laich, Washington.

Lady Byng (most gentlemanly): The Wild's Andrew Brunette is nothing if not a gentleman. Plus, he's remarkably clean with 310 career penalty minutes for a guy who has spent his entire career battling below the goal line. Runners-up: St. Louis, Tampa Bay; Selanne, Anaheim; Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit; Lidstrom, Detroit.

Vezina (best goalie): Picked by the general managers, Boston's Tim Thomas should win it. His 2.02 goals-against average and .938 save percentage are ridiculous. Runners-up: Fleury, Pittsburgh; Roberto Luongo, Vancouver; Pekka Rinne, Nashville; Henrik Lundqvist, N.Y. Rangers.

Jack Adams (best coach): It's picked by the broadcasters, but I'd go with Pittsburgh's Dan Bylsma. A 100-point year despite playing the second half largely without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? Simply incredible. Runners-up: Alain Vignealt, Vancouver; Barry Trotz, Nashville, Jacques Lemaire, New Jersey; Dave Tippett, Phoenix.

  • related content

  • Michael Russo's short takes: April 10

    Saturday April 9, 2011

    Classy gestureCanucks goalie Roberto Luongo went to goalie coach Roland Melanson last week to make sure backup Cory Schneider got...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Maness 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit - WP: D. Price 12 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Hammel 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 3
San Francisco - LP: S. Romo 9 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 10
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: R. Hernandez 4
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 4
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 84 FINAL
Chicago 86
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question