(Nick Wass/Associated Press)


In late February, NBC’s Mike Milbury crushed Alex Ovechkin, saying, “God almighty, that’s just so disheartening to see a player with that kind of talent fall that short in terms of effort.”

In mid March, TSN’s Ray Ferraro crushed Ovechkin, saying “I do not think he’s got a high hockey IQ. He goes for power, he goes in straight lines, he doesn’t see around him really well.”

In mid March, the CBC’s Craig Simpson crushed Ovechkin, saying, “Can’t win with Ovie as your face of franchise and so-called leader” and “If I had the money, I would think about trading Ovie, or buying him out.”

That wasn’t all that long ago, all things considered. And now another member of the hockey establishment — TSN analyst Dave Reid — has anointed Ovechkin the leading candidate for the Hart Trophy, given to the league’s MVP. Ovechkin, of course, won two Harts earlier in his career, and many — including me, I’m sure — loudly frothed that he would never win another.

“I can’t believe we’re actually mentioning Alex Ovechkin and the Hart, because a month ago, I don’t even think he would have been near the conversation,” Reid said on That’s Hockey 2Nite. “But when you talk about the Hart Trophy, it’s about how good the player is to his team. Is he the most valuable to his team. And in the last 14 games, the Washington Capitals have scored 45 goals, Alexander Ovechkin has got 23 points. So yes, he is THAT important, not only scoring goals but also assisting on goals.

“He can do it all, and he’s back to the form we saw [from] him before,” Reid said. “He is shooting from the outside and scoring, which he wasn’t doing early in the year. The battles with Adam Oates are over, the positional play is over, it’s lets just go play hockey. Everything is working for Alexander Ovechkin – he is the player that EVERYBODY knew at the start of the season he could be and wondered where he went and criticized him for not being that same player.

“I really think that Alexander Ovechkin right now is the leading candidate – and maybe you put him behind Sid, because Sidney’s injured – but he’s the leading candidate for the Hart Trophy. If he keeps this up, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got the Hart. And if he didn’t, he’d be runner-up.”

That’s. Well, Um. But. And then. I didn’t. I thought. Uh. So. Anyhow, if I said he was washed up, I might have been wrong.

As for the big mea culpish prize, nothing yet.

“Here is a bunch of stuff to ponder from around the web here, here and here,” Ted Leonsis wrote over the weekend. “Strangely, Mike Milbury is not quoted anywhere within.”

Also, see Tracee Hamilton on this topic.