Found June 20, 2012 on Fox Sports West:
Gettyimage.ashx_url_http_3a_2f_2fcache.gettyimages.com_2fxc_2f96306552.jpg_3fv_3d1_26c_3dewsasset_26k_3d2_26d_3d77bfba49ef878921a343b2c87a49d8f54ba0fa78ae0f3aabfa0fa6e1aed5e522882e90926f1174ba
There's no justifiable argument against Evgeni Malkin winning the Hart Memorial Trophy. During a Pittsburgh Penguins season beset by injuries up and down their lineup and with character role players forming much of the team's depth, Malkin alleviated much of the pressure on others to perform in Crosby's absence by shaking off injuries of his own to appear in 75 games, notching 50 goals and 59 assists. Steven Stamkos, who appeared in all 82 games, was the only skater to finish within 12 points of Malkin's league-high 109. Now ask yourself this question: From the start of the season to when the Stanley Cup was raised on the ice at Staples Center, did any player in the National Hockey League mean more to their team than Jonathan Quick did to the Los Angeles Kings? Obviously playoff statistics and achievements have no merit here. As for regular season statistics, Quick and Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Henrik Lundqvist posted virtually identical numbers: Quick had a 1.95 GAA; Lundqvist's was 1.97. Quick stopped 92.9 of the shots he faced; Lundqvist stopped 93.0. Quick had 10 shutouts; Lundqvist eight. Both players posted career-best numbers and appeared to be hitting their prime during stellar 2011-12 campaigns. While Lundqvist's 39 wins were four more than Quick's 35, his balanced New York Rangers scored the 11th most goals in the NHL, while Quick on many more nights had a much slimmer margin of error. The Kings ranked 29th in the league with 2.29 goals per game, and between Quick and understudy Jonathan Bernier, won only five games out of 82 when they allowed at least three goals. The Rangers won nine times when either Lundqvist or Martin Biron allowed at least three goals. "I just feel that goaltending in general is the most dependent position, maybe, in all of sports," Quick said during the regular season. "As the team goes, so does the goalie. When the goalie's doing really well, he usually is getting more credit than he deserves. There's guys that aren't getting credit that are blocking shots, and fighting hard in the tough areas along the wall, in the corners and stuff like that that are helping the goaltender get the numbers that he is." If you're casting a vote for the Vezina Trophy, there's no fault in finding either Lundqvist or Quick worthy. Both had seasons that suggested they were in the midst of the prime of their playing careers, and were clearly the two best goaltenders in hockey. Lundqvist won the Vezina trophy by a 120 to 63 vote, according to several sources. But if you're casting a vote for the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to a "player adjudged most valuable to his team," there are really only two players, in retrospect, who were simply more valuable to their teams than any other player on any other team during the regular season: Malkin and Quick. If not for a season in which their goaltender re-wrote the franchise's history books, the raised projections of the Kings' 2011-12 season would have been placed in doubt very early. Only the excellence with which Quick maintained the L.A. nets kept an already over-burdened offense from simply not being able to catch up. Had Quick only maintained his 2010-11 numbers in 2011-12 please, pardon the thought, Kings fans it is conceivable to think that a team that won the Stanley Cup by virtue of a 16-4 playoff record could have finished in 11th place in the Western Conference, in between Colorado's 88 points and Minnesota's 81. 11th-place Colorado missed the playoffs by seven points. Quick took the net for the Kings 69 times this season, and though it's difficult to quantify, it's easy to see him being worth much, much more than a seven-point gap between qualifying as an eight seed or on the verge of a top-10 pick in the draft. This is nothing to take away from the phenomenal young season engineered by 22-year old fellow Hart nominee Steven Stamkos, who became the first player in four years to score 60 goals in one season. While Stamkos won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal scorer for the second time in his career, his accomplishment is more personal, and while he certainly may be "adjudged most valuable to his team," it's a team that missed the playoffs by eight points. Among the players that were the most crucial to their team's success, the real discussion should be over Malkin and Quick. The Stanley Cup was the ultimate prize, the Conn Smythe Trophy an added bonus. But for the captivating regular season in which he at times singlehandedly carried an eventual Stanley Cup-winning team on his back, Quick registered as a Second Team, NHL All-Star. And that's fine with Quick, who readily credits those around him for his own success and isn't keen on speaking at length of his personal accomplishments, a notion backed up by Dustin Brown. "The only time I've seen him brag is when he's got someone's number in practice," Brown said.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Jonathan Quick Gets Back to New England Roots (Video)

You might have to forgive Jonathan Quick for still being in a little bit of a daze. He did just win sports' coolest trophy, after all. The Stanley Cup-winning goalie might still wake up some days in disbelief, but he already has an idea what he might do when it comes his turn to spend a day with the Cup. Quick spent his college years at the University of Massachusetts Amherst...

Quick could complete an awards sweep in Las Vegas

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell put it best during the long-and-winding Stanley Cup run when he was pondering the race for the Conn Smythe Trophy. "They're thinking about the other big trophy," he said of his teammates. True enough. But Kings goalie Jonathan Quick would get to hold two big trophies the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe, becoming the third American...

NHL Awards Show Preview: The Vezina Trophy

The season is over, and the Stanley Cup has been awarded. But the NHL still has some hardware to hand out.  In just a few days the NHL will hand out the Calder, Hart, Norris, Vezina and Jack Adams Trophy at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.The league’s best players will invade Sin City, and will wait for the crowning of the NHL’s best rookie, head coach, defenseman,...

Malkin wins three awards in Vegas including Hart Trophy

Evgeni Malkin arrived in Vegas knowing that he would absolutely be taking home the Art Ross Trophy for the most points scored in a season.  But Malkin walked away with two more trophies.  He also won the Ted Lindsay award which is the trophy for an outstanding player voted on by his peers and he won the big one the Hart Trophy which is the league MVP.   This is Malkin’s first...

Pittsburgh's Malkin takes MVP honors at NHL Awards

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. The Russian superstar and NHL scoring champion won the Hart for the first time Wednesday night at the NHL Awards ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas casino. Malkin beat out Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos and New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who won the Vezina...

Goaltending The Way It Was Meant To Be (Or Why Lundqvist Is a Fraud)

The Stanley Cup Finals was a huge victory in my eyes.  Not for the Wings though.  Nor for the NHL or TV markets or anything like that.  It was a huge victory for something totally different, yet vitally important to the sport: talented goaltending. Now a warning. For those who aren’t aware, I’m a stupid goalie who played in college (with Drew) and while my best days are behind...

Pittsburgh's Malkin voted top player by NHLPA

Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin has won the Ted Lindsay Award as the NHL's top player in voting by his peers. The NHL scoring champion received the award Wednesday night at the league's postseason awards ceremony. Malkin had 50 goals and 59 assists, easily winning the NHL scoring title by 12 points over Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, his fellow Lindsay Award nominee. Malkin...

Lundqvist beats out Quick for Vezina

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers has won his first Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie. Lundqvist won the award Wednesday night at the NHL's annual postseason awards show at the Wynn Las Vegas casino. The Rangers' tireless Swedish netminder won the award on his fourth nomination, going 39-18-5 with five shutouts and a 1.97 goals-against average...

NHL Season Awards Presented in Las Vegas (List of Winners)

 Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins speaks onstage after winning the Art Ross Trophy during the 2012 NHL Awards.The NHL Awards Show was broadcast on television Wednesday night from Las Vegas, where numerous NHL stars received awards for their performances this season. Unfortunately, there weren't any Caps that were even nominated for a trophy. Here is a breakdown of all...

Beware the Penguins, already?

Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika found a way to rather masterfully frame strong suggestions that the Pittsburgh Penguins will return to form as an NHL powerhouse and prohibitive Stanley Cup favorite in a superb article discussing Evgeni Malkin’s Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award wins: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin won his first Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable...

2012 NHL Awards - My Picks

Hart (Henrik Lundqvist/Evgeni Malkin/Steven Stamkos) Who should win: Evgeni Malkin This is a bit of a tough call. Both Malkin and Stamkos make a great case as to why they should win the Hart. Stamkos hit the 60 goal mark this season while Malkin hit the 50 goal mark and was the only player to crack the 100 point mark, which is why he will win it tonight. If that’s not enough...

NHL names First, Second All-Star Teams

From the NHL: NHL ANNOUNCES 2011-12 ALL-STAR TEAMS LAS VEGAS (June 20, 2012)—Center Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators have been voted to the First All-Star Team for the third and second time, respectively, as the National Hockey League today released voting results for its postseason All-Star Teams. Malkin received First...

Patrice Bergeron, Like Evgeni Malkin and Shea Weber, Deserving of NHL Hardware (Podcast)

The hockey season may be over, but it's still a busy week for the NHL. The NHL Awards Show will take place in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, and then it'll be back to the drawing board for general managers across the league, as the NHL draft is set for Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh. That means it's a perfect opportunity to look back on the season that was, while also...

2012 NHL Awards Predictions

It’s time for the NHL’s annual awards presentation. Here are our predictions for who will be taking home the hardware…   Hart Trophy (League MVP) Nominees: Henrik Lundqvist, Goaltender, New York Rangers; Evgeni Malkin, Center, Pittsburgh Penguins; Steven Stamkos, Center, Tampa Bay Lightning Winner: Evgeni Malkin, Center, Pittsburgh Penguins The NHL’s first 50-goal, 50-assist...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.