Sam Hitchcock, Columnist

The NBA MVP is going to Derrick Rose. Stan Van Gundy may look like Ron Jeremy but he is right, the Chicago Bulls are the best they have been since MJ and the media has already decided it. Rose has been outstanding (the unquestioned leader of his team) and deserves the trophy so it is completely logical as well.

The NHL, however, has a wide-open MVP race with three contenders who make compelling cases. In my opinion, here are the three candidates and their arguments on who should win and why.

Corey Perry: Possibly hurt in the voters eyes by the fact that he looks like an IT support employee, Perry is firing bullets scoring 44 goals this season while logging big minutes all season (having played in every game). Perry’s Anaheim Ducks are on the right side of the standings sitting currently seventh in the West, but the Ducks will need Perry to finish his remaining three games strong if he hopes to ensure the Ducks another playoff run. Perry was only 22 when the Ducks beat in the Senators for the Stanley Cup 2007, but Perry’s tie for second in game-winning goals (10) has the Ducks thinking they control their own destiny if they can sneak into the postseason.

Jonathan Toews: He plays in the big market in Chicago, he is very charismatic and charming and has been the staple for the Blackhawks in a year that has been marred with injuries and failure to meet expectations (currently holding onto dear life at eight in the Western Conference after winning the Stanley Cup last year). He is 22 but has shown leadership beyond his years and like Perry, Toews is peaking at the right time of the season. Toews provides intangibles that go beyond score sheets, as he has the highest plus/minus of any player in the top 10 points whose last name does not end with Sedin and has plus 24 points higher than St. Louis and plus 16 points higher than Perry. He has seven game-winning goals this season, and if the Blackhawks make the playoffs and can upset Vancouver, he will be the reason.

Daniel Sedin: Not sure what the parents of these two twins did, but some laboratory tests may need to be done as they are quickly establishing themselves as candidates for the best brother tandem in sports (not yet the Mannings but give them time.) Daniel has done everything anyone could do to win the Hart Trophy. He is leading the league in points, is first among any other top forward in plus/minus and has his Vancouver Canucks locked to win the Presidents Trophy (best record in the NHL). While he and brother Henrik keep somewhat of a low profile for how good they are (both are Swedish in a Canadian market), he has been dominant and scored goals when it counted (10 game-winning goals). While voters may count it against him for having such an outstanding brother in Henrik and the ever-improving American Ryan Kesler, the media often can be susceptible to over-thinking the balloting rather than giving it to the player who has played or performed the best the entire season. His statistics and success show this, Sedin deserves the Hart Trophy more than anyone. With Henrik winning it last year, the Sedin family gatherings should have a little more silverware than in years past. Now all they need is that pesky Stanley Cup.

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