"It's special, too, with three Russians nominated. It's a great thing for our country and our sport."-- Alexander Ovechkin reacting to the news that the Hart nominees will take on a very European look this year.
Somebody best hide the sharp instruments for a few days over at the CBC and while they're at it they had best be sure not to show any highlight reels from the Hart nominees, for Don Cherry is not going to be in a good mood.
The NHL announced its candidates for the Hart Trophy on Wednesday, a list of three who all call Mother Russia home. Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk will be your nominees for when the awards are handed out in Las Vegas on June 18th.
The trio of Russians provide just a sample of the changing face of the game in North America, as more and more European based players seem to be finding their way to awards table as they take on key roles with their teams.
As for Mr. Cherry it's been a bad week all around, the Canadian content in the playoffs as far as host cities goes has been whittled down to one, with but the Vancouver Canucks ready to carry the torch for the nation, while a quick scan of the rosters will find that a good number of the remaining players feature names of European lineage.
He can however find some solace that both the Bruins and the Black Hawks have carried on into the second round. Both teams play the kind of hockey that Cherry preaches, the hard hitting, team oriented approach with little time for over celebrating achievements on the ice.
If they can go far into the playoffs, it may help take some of the sting out of the early developments thus far in the post season.
Globe and Mail-- Russian trio up for Hart Trophy
CBC-- All-Russian affair in NHL Hart Trophy race
National Post-- Ovechkin, Malkin and Datsyuk up for Hart