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A quarter to remember has Sid as top dog in Hart race

Friday, 01.07.2011 / 2:41 PM / 2011 NHL Awards

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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A quarter to remember has Sid as top dog in Hart race
Amazing second quarter puts Crosby in Hart Trophy lead.
The Hart Trophy goes to the player in the National Hockey League that is considered to be the most valuable to his team.

By that definition if you find a player that provides the most offense to his team you'd put him up for the Hart Trophy right away. But, that player would also have to do plenty of other things to warrant such a prestigious honor.

He'd have to be the leader of the team in ways that go beyond just the motivational dressing room speeches. He'd have to be the guy that always shows up in clutch situations. He'd have to be remarkably consistent. He'd have to be one of the top defensive players on the team, an important contributor on special teams.

If he also won faceoffs at an alarming clip, well, that would only strengthen his case for the Hart Trophy.

Do you see where we're going with this?

The debate over the MVP at the midway point of the season is usually between three or four guys and most times there's no consensus pick.

Not this season. Not even close.

This season, one guy is running away with it in a Wayne Gretzy-like fashion.

If we had to, we could come up with 87 reasons why.

Winner

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh -- A mild concussion has sidelined 'The Kid,' but not before he lapped the field in the second quarter of the season thanks to his remarkable 25-game point scoring streak in which he had 26 goals and 24 assists. He had 26 points in November and 24 more in December. When we last ran this Trophy Tracker package he was tied with Steven Stamkos for the League-lead in points with 35 in 22 games. Crosby has 31 points during his past 19 games to give him 32 goals and 34 assists for the season. He is on pace for 64 goals and 132 points. If he can get healthy soon and keep his numbers strong, it's possible for him to score the most points in a single season since Mario Lemieux's 161 in 1995-96.

But, for Crosby, it's not just the points. He's playing nearly 22 minutes per game and winning better than 55 percent of his faceoffs. He leads the League with 958 faceoffs taken. He's a plus-20. The Penguins reeled off 12-straight wins during Crosby's point streak and are clinging to the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 56 points in 42 games.

Runners-up

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay -- Stamkos was our projected winner at the quarter-pole, but that was before Crosby turned nearly immortal. Still, Stamkos hasn't disappointed. He's second behind Crosby in goals (31) and points (56). Stamkos leads the NHL in power-play goals with 13 and points with 25. He's on pace for 62 goals and 112 points. If both Crosby and Stamkos score 60 goals, it'll be the first time that happened in the NHL since Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr did it in 1995-96.

Henrik Sedin, Vancouver -- He barely gets the nod over his twin brother, Daniel; and only because as the center he has more responsibilities than his No. 1 winger. Daniel has 22 goals as opposed to Henrik's 9, but Henrik has 41 assists to lead the NHL. They both have 50 points, but Henrik is winning almost 52-percent of his faceoffs. Henrik probably isn't who he is without Daniel, but you can say the same thing the other way. The Canucks would surely not be at the top of the Western Conference without Henrik doing all he does as the team's leading pivot.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl