By Michael Collins
I see no reason why the MVP in the National Hockey League shouldn't have to come from a playoff bound team. Hockey - unlike some other sports - is one of those games where one player, a single superstar, can make a big difference on a team. But he has to do it with more than just a compilation of individual statistics.
I've never understood the argument that the "Most Valuable Player" in the entire league could be someone who couldn't guide his team to a playoff berth in a league where better than 50% of the teams make the playoffs. Whether it's as an offense threat, or a defenseman, or being solid as a rock in goal, it's all about victories for the team, and taking them to the next level. That's the true measure of an MVP.
I've heard the argument that this year, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos deserves MVP consideration. Balderdash! His team plays in arguably one of the weakest divisions in hockey, and yet even with his 60 goals and 97 points, the Lightning couldn't manage more than 3rd place in their division, and 10 in the conference."
A true MVP leads his team to victories against the teams they are supposed to beat. When you only have a winning record against one division in your conference, then you aren't taking care of business. Stamkos may be the most valuable player to his team, but there are certainly players who have done more to help put their team in a position to win games. And that's what it's all about. Winning.
No, an MVP in the NHL has to be more than just a goal scorer, he has to be the man that teammates look to during crunch time to lead them to victory. Stats alone are never a good measure of the value of a player.
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