Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby has been named a finalist for the 2016 Hart Memorial Trophy, the MVP award of the NHL. He won the trophy in 2007 and in 2014, but it’s the first nomination for the other two finalists, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Benn.
While Crosby had a tough start to the season, he picked up steam in the second half, leading the Penguins to a playoff berth many deemed out-of-reach. He finished the season with 85 points (36 G, 49 A) and a plus-minus of 19 in 80 games.
Wayne Gretzky had this to NHL.com say about Crosby: “Yeah, he had a tough start, but the sign of an elite athlete is a guy that battles through it. He didn’t point any fingers, he just battled through it, and I don’t think there is any question the last 40 or so games, he made a case for the MVP. He was that good. He went to another level. I don’t think there is any question he is playing as good or better than he has ever played.”
If Crosby wins, he’ll be only the ninth player to win the Hart Trophy at least three times; former Penguin Mario Lemieux is among those names. Of current players, only the Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin has three. (Gretzky holds the record with nine wins.)
The Hart Memorial Trophy winner will be announced June 22 in Las Vegas during the NHL Awards.
Image credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images