I have had the opportunity to watch Sidney Crosby and Ryan Getzlaf play the majority of their games, and hands down, they have been the two best players in the league – or at least the most valuable to their teams.
Sidney Crosby has been, Sidney Crosby. With the team decimated with injuries, it has gotten to a point where it is a real possibility they will have to look for outside help, Crosby has held the team together better than any combination of super glue and duct tape.
Currently leading the NHL in points, Crosby is starting to get back to the level he was playing at not only before his broken jaw, but quite possibly before he suffered his first concussion. He has certainly been the ‘easy’ pick for the Hart Trophy this year.
But for everything Crosby has meant for his team (or even Alex Ovechkin), Getzlaf has meant the same to his. Though not the same star power, the Ducks captain has had to deal with injuries to his team – even missing a few games himself – but he has continually willed his team to victory.
The November 22 game against the Tampa Bay Lightning is the one game that still sticks out throughout the first half of the season. In a tight, close game, where the Ducks were shorthanded six times, Getzlaf led the penalty killers in killing all six penalties and then still had enough energy to score the game winning goal in overtime with five seconds left.
His ability to impact the game on both sides of the ice is what put Getlzaf in the conversation for the Hart. But will he be able to continue this pace over the course of the whole season, a season that will involve a two week break for the Winter Olympics.
With his play this season, Getzlaf will more than certainly be a key contributor in Team Canada’s defense of the Gold, which could certainly wear Ryan out.
Through his name, team, and location – as well as having a sidekick who has also won the Hart – will make him fighting an endless uphill climb; Getzlaf has been every bit valuable to his team, as any other player in the league.
So when push comes to shove, has Getzlaf been the first half MVP? Can he keep pace with Crosby, Ovechkin and others and bring home the MVP?
Anthony Murphy is the Editor at Pucks of a Feather. You can reach him by email [email protected] or Twitter @AMurphyTFC.