My Trib column yesterday (click HERE) discussed Evgeni Malkin’s chances of winning NHL MVP.
It can be a slippery slope, especially when noted that Mario Lemieux got point-blank cheated out of the award in 1989. Lemieux had 31 more points than Wayne Gretzky, and all of them were goals. But Gretzky got MVP because he did the NHL a favor going to Los Angeles that season.
You won’t find that in the Hart Trophy’s official criteria.
Lemieux not getting MVP in 1989 was hockey’s biggest screwjob.
But Malkin not making the NHL’s official list of its top 100 players ever ranks a close second. (That index got released on 1.27.17.)
There are at least a dozen players on that list of 100 players who couldn’t carry Malkin’s jockstrap in a goalie’s equipment bag.
For example’s sake, zero in on Chicago center Jonathan Toews.
Malkin and Toews each have three Stanley Cups and a playoff MVP. Malkin has two scoring titles. Toews has none. Malkin has an MVP. Toews does not.
In 774 regular-season games, Malkin has 368 goals and 553 assists for 921 points. In 789 regular-season games, Toews has 292/381/673. Malkin has played 15 less games and has 248 more points.
In 149 playoff games, Malkin has 58 goals and 99 assists for 157 points. In 128 playoff games, Toews has 40/70/110. That’s 1.05 points per post-season game for Malkin, .859 for Toews.
Tell me one tangible, significant way that Toews is better than Malkin. There aren’t any. Toews isn’t remotely in Malkin’s class. That's stats, not opinion.
Fans of Toews (and Canada) will bleat about faceoffs, defense and leadership.
But, addressing the latter, Toews’ Blackhawks haven’t been out of the first round of the playoffs since 2015 and won’t make this year’s postseason. If Toews was once a great leader, he must have forgotten how.