Nash feat difficult to fathom

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

There's a simple way to put the remarkable accomplishment of Canadian basketball star Steve Nash into perspective.

Just look at the number of times an American has won the Hart Trophy.

Nash now has two most valuable player awards in a sport that is part of the American national fabric but is just a small fibre in Canada's sporting makeup. Many people would suggest that the achievement is akin to an American dominating at Canada's beloved sport of hockey.

However, while there have been hundreds of American NHL players over the years, only one has ever won the Hart Trophy - and that player (Brett Hull) was born and raised in Canada.

There are only two Canadians in the NBA -- Jamal Magloire of the Milwaukee Bucks is the other -- and you can count on one finger the number of Canadian imports who have reached superstar status in roundball.

Steve Nash has done something so exceptional, it's sometimes hard to fathom. He grew up in a culture that worships hockey and, while he preferred a different sport, his initial love was not hoops but soccer.

That he even made the NBA after getting a late start in basketball was truly amazing. That he developed into a first-ballot Hall of Famer is astonishing.

It's not the first time a Canadian has made his mark in an American-dominated sport. Larry Walker won an MVP in baseball's National League and Jason Bay seems destined to do the same one day. Eric Gagne has a Cy Young Award on his shelf, as does the legendary Fergie Jenkins. Mike Vanderjagt is the most accurate kicker in the history of the NFL.

All that does is tell us something we already know. Canadians, to put it as simply as possible, are good at stuff.

But even in the sport we do best, winning an MVP is no easy task. The great Joe Sakic has only done it once, while iconic players like Steve Yzerman, Mike Bossy, Dale Hawerchuk and Jarome Iginla have been shut out.

Steve Nash, a long-haired kid from Victoria, has won more MVPs than all the aforementioned hockey heroes put together.

Who, in their wildest dreams, could have seen that coming?

GOALIE GAME: Quick, name the only starting goaltender in the second round of the NHL playoffs who began the season as his team's No. 1 netminder.

That would be Martin Brodeur.

Carolina's Cam Ward, Anaheim's Ilya Bryzgalov, San Jose's Vesa Toskala, Ottawa's Ray Emery and Buffalo's Ryan Miller all entered the season as backups. With the exception of Toskala, who played in Europe during the lockout, all of those guys were in the AHL a year ago. Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson and Colorado's Jose Theodore were acquired by trades and both spent time as backups with their old teams this season.

Only Brodeur came into the playoffs with any real post-season experience and he's on the verge of getting bounced by the Hurricanes.

This, along with the emergence of former Sharks backup Miikka Kiprusoff in Calgary, would suggest that there are a lot more money goaltenders out there than people think.

They just need somebody to give them a chance.

Here's hoping the next guy to get that chance is Wade Flaherty.

WHERE IS EVERYBODY? How far into the playoffs do the Manitoba Moose have to go before the city starts to get interested? Sure, the crowds at the MTS Centre have been OK by AHL standards, but this is supposed to be a hockey city and these are the playoffs. Shouldn't the Moose have to open the upper deck at least once when they are playing hockey in May? ... If the Winnipeg Blue Bombers season is half as eventful as their off-season, this should be one interesting year ... Who thought the best NHL player out of Winkler this year would be Dustin Penner and not Eric Fehr? ... Randy Carlyle is eight wins away from winning the Stanley Cup as a rookie NHL coach. Not nearly enough has been said or written about the job Kitty is doing in Disneyland.


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