Here we are, another month in the books, and spring just around the corner. Which means the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are soon to follow, the best time of the year. Okay, for 16 teams it is, as the other 15 pack everything up and wait until September.
With roughly a quarter of the 2017-18 regular season left to be played, a young hockey fan’s thoughts turn to the Hart, or the Lindsay. Take your pick. Either bauble proclaims who has been the best player over the course of a season. Don’t get bogged down by the pedantic “most valuable” discussion; while that certainly matters, it all really comes down to one question.
Who has been the best hockey player this past season?
Peter Berce and I put that question to the listeners of Under Review in the form of this question…
“Name the Fab Four players this season in the National Hockey League”.
Regardless of position, team, age, past resume, etc. If you name the top four players, then somewhere in there will be the 2017-18 Hart Memorial Trophy winner.
The usual suspects were named, as were some throwbacks who you don’t want to throwback anymore (Eric Staal, Claude Giroux). Some wiseacre called and submitted the name Mark Staal as one of the top four players so far this season. Suffice to say I had to go lay down, during the broadcast.
Here now, for your perusal, is what the fine listeners of Under Review chose at the Fab Four in the NHL so far this season…
- Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning
- Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
- Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
- Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins
Western Conference sensibilities will not be pleased with this Eastern sweep. It was almost an OAR sweep, save for Crosby.
Bubbling under the charts, as they used to say, were these players…
- Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
- Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
- Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
- Andrei Vasilevskiy – Tampa Bay Lightning
- William Karlsson – Vegas Golden Knights
- Nathan McKinnon – Colorado Avalanche
We’ll keep this list, and compare it to the actual end-of-season voting for the Hart and Ted Lindsay awards.