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Varlamov deserves Hart consideration

Apr 11, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT

Tyson Barrie, Semyon Varlamov AP

The last goalie to win the NHL’s Hart Trophy as the “player judged most valuable to his team” was Jose Theodore, back in 2002 for the Montreal Canadiens.

Only seven times since the award was first handed out in 1924 has a goalie been deemed the winner.

This year, the heavy favorite to win the Hart is Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby, whose 103 points are far and away the most in the NHL.

But all that doesn’t mean Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov shouldn’t at least be in the conversation.

“He’s one of the reasons we are where we are,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said, per NHL.com. “He has been so good and that’s why, looking at the standings today, seeing us with the Blues and not too far from Boston, I think he should be considered a Hart Trophy winner.”

Consider:

— Varlamov leads all goalies with 41 victories
— No goalie has made more saves than his 1,867
— Among regular netminders, only two — Josh Harding (.933) and Tuukka Rask (.929) — have a higher save percentage than his .927
— The Avs are 35-7-3 when they’ve been outshot. No team has that many wins in that situation, and no team has that high a win percentage

“He’s been tremendous,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said of Varlamov. “I think it’s safe to say we wouldn’t be here without him.”

And that’s the key right there. Where would the Avs be without their goalie? Remember, this is a team that finished last in the Western Conference last year.

Varlamov’s save percentage in 2013? A lowly .903.

  1. djshnooks - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    And only one goalie has two of them…the best ever…Dominik Hasek!

    • pfhockey - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:20 AM

      Hasek was truly a marvel. IMO the most skillful, athletic goalie to play the game. He could stop the puck in so many ways.

  2. gbart22 - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    He’s not even going to win the vezina so why would he win the hart?

    • govtminion - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      Because the reason for the two awards isn’t the same. Vezina is looking for the best goalie in the NHL this season (and there’s a case to make for him here, though I’d personally go with Rask). The Hart asks who is the most valuable player TO THEIR TEAM, not who the best player in the NHL is.

      Take the candidates away from their teams and replace them with an average performer at that position. And ask yourself if the team is able to have that level of performance without that Hart candidate. To put it in this way, are the Avs in first place in the West right now- are they even a playoff team!- without the play of Semyon Varlamov?

      The answer is, to me, clearly ‘no’. THAT is what makes him a Hart candidate as far as I’m concerned- his absence would have sunk this team far more than just about any other player on the ice.

      • pr0jecktpat - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        No clue why you are getting down voted because your comment is spot on. It always seems like there is a lot of confusion with people when it comes to the Hart trophy due to people not understanding that it is awarded, like you said, to the most valuable player to their team. I definitely think Varly should be in the conversation, but I still have to think on it before I could say who I think deserves it this season.

    • killerpgh - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      2 completely different awards. Vezina is for best goalie in the NHL. Hart is for most important to his team (not best player). Crosby is having a great year and should win the Pearson for being the best player in the NHL. But I always think the Hart should go to a player who’s team wouldn’t make the playoffs if he got injured early in the year and missed the playoff. Thus making him the most important player to his teams success. The Penguins probably would still make the playoff w/out Crosby. So I have no problem if by some slim chance Crosby doesn’t win the Hart. To me players like Varly, Giroux, etc should win this award.

  3. comeonnowguys - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    He’s gotta get the Vezina. As badly as they get outshot in some games given their record, yes, he’s hands-down the one who deserves it the most.

    • stratomaticfan - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      Rask in a landslide for Vezina. Has better numbers across the board other than wins, which he would have led in, too, if Julien didn’t rest him so often late in the season to keep him fresh for the playoffs.

      No way Varlomov is in the Hart discussion. If it was truly an MVP award (and not an award for top scorer in the League, Bergeron would win. The guy has 29 goals, is the best faceoff man in the game, and plays on not only the PP, but the top PK line and against the top lines in all of Hockey. He is clearly most valuable. He is the difference between being a good team and being the top team in the NHL….and if not for the silly skills competition to decide games, they’d be even further out front.

      • runhigh24 - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        You could say all those things about Jonathan Toews except that he has better offensive numbers and plays in the tougher Western Conference. So he’s be ahead of Bergeron using your criteria.

      • comeonnowguys - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        So a Bruin for the Vezina and Bruin for the Hart? You had to have seen the skepticism coming from Worcester.

  4. 950003cups - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    I’ll bet his ex girlfriend thinks different. Don’t forget that this guy beat up a small female.

    • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Heh, wife beater Roy talking up a future wife beater, Varlamov.

    • tomas3345 - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      and now i know another idiot who’s comments i should ignore on PHT

  5. csilojohnson - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    I dont think the Pens get in that easy without Crosby this year. He has factored into almost, maybe more then 50% of the Pens goals this year. (been a couple weeks since i saw actual number)

    • richwhitey - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:17 PM

      Crosby has contributed to 14.5% of the Pens total points.

      • itripledogdareyou - Apr 13, 2014 at 2:29 AM

        Completely false richwhitey. The Pens have scored 240 goals this season, Crosby has either scored or assisted in 43% of them. This year the Pens lost 85% of the games Crosby did not record a point in. With more games lost due to injury than any other team, the Pens would not have made the playoffs without Crosby. People may not like him but Crosby should be a no-brainier for the Hart this year. And it doesn’t take away from the great seasons of other players like Varlamov, Getzlaf, Bergeron, etc.

  6. gbart22 - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Rask will win the vezina as their is an east-coast bias even if it is routinely denied see a few years ago when quick was by far and away the better goalie yet lundquivst won it.

    As far as the hart trophy goes I’ve heard different interpretations of what exactly it is awarded for whether it be the best player in the league or the most valuable to his team which is awfully subjective as if it was truly rewarded to players deemed most valuable to their team we would see a lot more goalies win the award but we don’t. Crosby will win the hart and Rask the vezina. All of you can argue every which way you want but this is what will happen.

  7. gbart22 - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    And the previous posters and likely fans of these respective teams citing Crosby Bergeron and varlimov for the award and talking about how each was so valuable to their teams and asking the question where would they be without these players just lends more validation to the idea that it is completely subjective. If one was not a fan of either boston or Pittsburgh to fans elsewhere they look at those teams and say well Boston is stacked with great players and they will look at Pittsburgh and respond with well they have two of the top 5 players in the world and we’ve seen the penguins continue to win over and over and over without Crosby in the lineup so is he really that valuable to the teams overall success? Doesn’t mean it’s right as they may be the most valuable. It’s both a fair and unfair question. But what makes any of those three players more valuable then say bobrovsky to Columbus or giroux to Philadelphia or lehtonen to Dallas or where would the devils have been without jagr turning back the clock this season considering he was the only devil who could score, they’d have been dead last and never in contention for a playoff birth. Every single fan base and writer is going to have a different take on who was more valuable to a particular team and each person would be right so how do you determine who had the most “value” unless a team is deemed to be so universally bad like the panthers and behind luongo they made the playoffs then you could probably get some form of agreement much like when Hasek won his awards.

  8. hennessey1200hp - Apr 11, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Is there an award for domestic abuse?

  9. muckleflugga - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    jim coleman, one of the world’s great sports journalists and horse racing raconteurs, wrote a book entitled …

    a hoofprint on my heart

    varlamov’s agent, himself a gifted writer, has in its final draft a book entitled …

    a hoofprint from my hart

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