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Your! Call: Who should win the 2012-13 Hart Trophy?

Ken Rodney, TSN.ca

4/26/2013 3:02:28 PM

With the 2012-13 regular season coming to an end on Sunday, the debate will begin on which players deserve consideration for the Hart Trophy, given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team.

With many candidates worthy of the honour this season, the question is, who do you think should win the Hart Trophy?

Before taking a puck to the face that broke his jaw and cost him the remainder of the regular season, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby was running away with the scoring race in the NHL, having contributed 15 goals and 41 assists in 36 games. 

On March 30th, the date of the injury suffered in a game against the New York Islanders, Crosby held a 10-point advantage in the race for the most points. 

Crosby would not surrender that lead until April 24th, when Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis finally passed him, thanks to a hat-trick performance against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Crosby's Penguins had won 14 straight games before he suffered the injury and were the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, a position they would then go on to clinch for the playoffs.

Another of the leading candidates, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, made a very strong case for himself after both he and his team got off to a slow start to the season.

One of the most vocal critics of Ovechkin's early play was former NHL GM Mike Milbury, who claimed among other things that the Capitals forward failed the "superstar test".

What followed was an incredible turnaround as Ovechkin went on a tear, scoring 19 goals and adding 10 assists and carrying his team to a 14-2-1 record over a 17-game stretch that saw the Capitals jump from 14th in the Conference to the Southeast Division title and the number-three seed in the playoffs.

The Moscow native has elevated himself to first in the league in goals with 32, including 14 in April, which is a new record for the month.

What was expected to be another season in the wilderness for the New York Islanders was turned into the first playoff season for the franchise since 2007, thanks in large part to the play of forward John Tavares, who is currently in the top three in goals and top 10 in points.

In this shortened season, Tavares has a chance to equal or top the career-high 31 goals he scored last season as he is currently sitting on 28 markers with one game to play.

While both Crosby and Ovechkin have teammates that are also in the top 10 in scoring, the next highest Islanders player on the list is Matt Moulson, who is currently 22nd, showing the value of Tavares' offensive contributions to the team.

The door is open to other candidates as well. After opening the season with a record setting 24-game point-streak, both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks will gain consideration for the award.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has posted a 20-11-6 record with a 2.03 goals-against average and, if he is able to sneak his team into the playoffs, could very well get himself into the conversation for some hardware.

There are many worthy candidates for the award but our question to you is, who do you think should win the Hart Trophy?

As always, it's Your! Call.