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Hart Trophy: John Tavares named finalist for NHL MVP

The Western Conference does not exist.

And his career has Hartly begun, nyuk nyuk...
And his career has Hartly begun, nyuk nyuk...
Bruce Bennett

This seems insignificant In the middle of a playoff series, but New York Islanders center John Tavares has been named one of the finalist's for the NHL's MVP award, the Hart Memorial Trophy. That means he was one of the top three recipients of votes for the award.

The lockout pushed back the normal awards and pomp routine, so the winner will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Obviously, that can only mean he will be distracted by such Hart news twice while playing in these playoffs. (See what I did there?)

The other two finalists are Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, so East Coast bias and Future Reconstituted Patrick Division for the win.

From the team release:

Tavares, 22, led the Islanders in scoring for the fourth-straight season, recording 47 points (28g/19a) in 48 games. He finished third in NHL goal scoring with 28 goals, including a league-high 19 even-strength goals and a team leading five game-winning goals. The Islanders finished 15-6-2 when Tavares scored a goal and 20-7-2 when he recorded a point. He led the team in average TOI (time on ice) per game at 20:46.

Things not captured in the words above:

He's an okay shooter, I guess:

And I suppose, if you insist, he's kind of an inventive passer too:

Congratulations to Tavares. I must say I didn't expect this so early in his career.

If he wins, he would join Bryan Trottier (1979) as the only Islanders to ever win this award. [Edit: In fact, Trottier was the last Islander to be a finalist, back in 1984. See Hornick for more.]