No player since has bested the previous mark by a greater number or a higher percentage. And Esposito went on to score 60 or more goals four times before any other NHL player managed to do it even once.
Esposito won five Art Ross Trophies – including four in succession – as the league’s leading scorer. He won the Lester B. Pearson Award twice and the Hart Trophy twice.
So Phil Esposito knows what he is talking about when it comes to goals and trophies.
“To me,” says Esposito, “even if the Washington Capitals don’t make the playoffs, [Caps left winger Alex] Ovechkin’s the MVP in my mind.”
The Hart Trophy is awarded annually to the league’s MVP.
Esposito’s qualifier is important, because there are those who believe Ovechkin cannot or should not be the MVP if the Caps don’t make the playoffs. In their mind, Ovechkin could be the Hart Trophy winner on Saturday when he takes off his skates after Washington’s final regular season game, but they’d vote for someone else if the Caps got bumped out of the playoffs the following day.
The voting members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association vote for the Hart Trophy, and they take the responsibility seriously. Ovechkin is a strong candidate for the award this season, but he is not the only one. Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Calgary’s Jarome Iginla, San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov and New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur are a few of the other viable candidates around the league.