Handicapping the Hart Trophy favorites
It's hard to envision an NHL 2009-10 in which someone other than Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin wins the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player. Ovechkin (24 years old) and Malkin (23) have finished 1-2 in MVP voting the past two seasons and Crosby (22) won it the year before that. With respect to Pavel Datsyuk, Vincent Lecavalier and others, these three young guns are the class of the league and they look like the sole Hart owners for the next decade or so.
But seeing how Columbus rookie goalie Steve Mason forced himself into Hart contention last season, there's always a chance a usurper will rise up and swipe MVP honors.
Here are the top 10 candidates for the Hart Trophy this season:
1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington
The two-time league MVP is the NHL's most explosive and dynamic player, a goal-scoring machine whose passion is unmatched. What else needs to be said?