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The NHL doesn’t hand out trophies in December, but a handful of players have earned some serious praise with tremendous first half performances. Though the games that follow the Olympic break are likely to have a greater sway on official awards voting, here are some much deserved midseason honors:
Hart Trophy – MVP
Winner: Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
If you define MVP as the best player on the best team, Ryan Getzlaf is the obvious choice at this point in the season. The Ducks captain has led his team to ten straight victories and the NHL’s best record. He ranks third in the league with 44 points and his plus-17 rating is the NHL’s eleventh best. In recent weeks, the Anaheim center has distinguished himself against top competition. He found the net in consecutive early December games against the Kings, Blackhawks and Blues. That three game stretch was part of a 16-game point streak. If he carries Anaheim to the Presidents’ Trophy along with 2011 Hart Trophy recipient Corey Perry, then he should be in contention for MVP honors in the summer.
Runner-Up: Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
No surprise here. Sidney Crosby continues to put up points at a ridiculous rate, and it seems that a serious injury is the only thing that might keep him out the Hart debate. Crosby won the Hart Trophy back in 2007, and he is due to add another to his mantelpiece. His 55 points through 40 games have him on pace to win his second Art Ross Trophy, which he paired with the Hart seven years ago. Keep an eye-out for Patrick Kane who could become the first American born Hart Trophy winner since Billy Burch in 1925 if he steals Crosby’s points lead.
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