05 March 2012
Every year when it comes closer to awards season, major movie studios, TV networks or even the stars themselves take out ads in entertainment trade publications (and their websites) such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter or Deadline, to sway the voting groups like Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (for the Academy Awards) or the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (for the Emmys) to vote for their work or cast. See this one that Melissa Leo took out for her campaign for Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter last year or this website that Showtime puts together for the voting groups to watch their programming in streaming video online. If you have no idea how much campaigning (and money spent on it) goes on to win an Oscar or Emmy, it really is fascinating stuff.
With so little talk about Stamkos' body of work this season on a team with so many problems with their defense and goaltending, if the Lightning make the playoffs, Stamkos may need a 'for your consideration' ad for the Hart trophy. Now I acknowledge that Evgeni Malkin may this category locked up and if he doesn't, Henrik Lundqvist is a strong candidate for it, but if the Lightning make the playoffs shouldn't Stamkos be considered?
Let's start off with his numbers: As of Sunday night, Steven Stamkos has played 65 games so far this season. In those 65 games he has 47 goals and 80 points which puts him at 1st in the league in both categories. Evgeni Malkin is currently tied with him in points but Stamkos is 9 goals of Malkin in goals scored.
Out of his 47 goals, Stamkos has had 10 game winning goals for first in the league in the category and has a shooting percentage of 20.4%. Although we had a killer powerplay last year, this year the Lightning have been struggling to put together a consistently effective powerplay. So this season powerplay goals aren't padding his goal totals as of the 47 goals scored, only 9 come on the powerplay. If you compare that to last season, of the 45 goals scored, 17 came on the powerplay.
Basically, the numbers mean that he's been playing another great season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and if the Lightning make the playoffs it will be in large part because he dragged this team into 8th spot with his game winning goals.
Although he leads the league in both goals scored and points acrued, all this goes largely unnoticed because the Lightning have been bumbling about the bottom of the Conference. The problems we've had with out defence and our goaltending has overshadowed his accomplishment in scoring to keep this team in the playoff race.
The only article I've read that has written about his consideration for the Hart was by Dan Rosen of NHL.com that was published last week. Like an indie film's chances of an Oscar without a big studio backing it up, it may also have something to do with us being in a smaller market that doesn't get as much regional press as say teams in Pittsburgh, Philly, Montreal or Toronto may have. In Tampa we may appreciated his consistency and laud his scoring achievement but if we lived in a bigger market with more press, we'd be reminded of this achievement every single day, multiple times a day (trust me on this as I live in Vancouver where they do this all the time).
Though it is technically allowed for a player on a non-playoff team to win the Hart, in recent NHL history, you don't ever see a player winning or even getting Hart consideration if his team misses the playoffs; but as the Lightning get closer to the playoffs, there's a case to be made for Stamkos.
With the Lightning now sitting just 2 points out from 8th spot in the East, this late season charge has been led by Stamkos and this hodge-podge of a team digging deep and just getting it done night after night. Since Dominic Moore was traded to the Sharks before the game against San Jose in Tampa, the Lightning have gone 7-2-0. Perhaps the exit of players before the trade deadline indicating the Lightning being sellers alleviated the stress of the team and the shift to playing fun hockey has had an impact of their success of late. Whatever the reason, their success, coupled with the failures of Toronto, Montreal, Washington and Buffalo has led them to be able to hop into 10th in the East.
So as we head into the final 17 games of the season, consider Steven Stamkos.