SUN Hockey Pool

Iggy in NHL's Hart-trick

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

Last week, Jarome Iginla admitted he doesn't believe he has a chance to win the Hart Trophy.

The Calgary Flames captain is a finalist for the NHL award given to the player judged most valuable to his team, but said he'd have voted for Alex Ovechkin and believed he had a "better chance at winning a lottery."

Excuse his teammates for not feeling the same way.

"Obviously there are other good players out there, but I get to play with him and get to see first hand, so I'm going to stick with him," said centre Matthew Lombardi.

"He does something and you're like, 'Oh my god', but then you think, 'Oh yeah, that's him.'

"It's just like Kipper and Dion. You know what they can do, and then they do it and it's still unbelievable. Then you think, 'Oh yeah, they do that.' "

Iginla was yesterday named among the final three Hart Trophy contenders with Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin.

It's the third time Iginla has been a finalist. He was runner up in 2001-02 and 2003-04.

It's the first time Ovechkin and Malkin have been up for the award.

Malkin came to the forefront when star teammate Sidney Crosby suffered an ankle injury. He netted 106 points (47-59) in the regular season.

Ovechkin, who led the league with 65 goals -- the most ever by a left-winger -- and 112 points, is expected to receive the honour.

"It's gonna be tough to beat him, all those goals and points," said Flames centre Craig Conroy.

"He was on fire. If he doesn't win it, I'd be shocked."

Still, Iginla's teammates insist his accomplishments should never be overlooked.

"He's a great all-around player and when he gets hot, it's unreal to watch," Daymond Langkow said. "Game after game, he's scoring goals and he did that for us again this year. It's nice to know you always have a guy like that you can count on. He had a great year and deserves all the best.

"What he does year after year is pretty impressive."

Iginla recorded his second career 50-goal season and had a career-best 98 points in 82 games.

"Unbelievable year, scoring 50 goals again," Conroy said.

"The nights when we need him, he picked us up again. He definitely had more guys around him this year and with the rule changes there's more scoring, but he always rose to the occasion when we needed him. You read in the media or hear on TV it's always about Jarome, but there's a good reason. It starts with him, Kipper and Dion.

"All of them played great, but Jarome definitely, at times, took it to another level."

The award is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Ballots had to be submitted before the playoffs began.

Calgary's Dion Phaneuf is a finalist for the Norris Trophy as top defenceman.


Videos

Photos