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What Joe Thornton Is Doing At His Age And For That Team Is Simply Amazing

It was around December that it started to look as if New York's Jaromir Jagr would pull away from the Sharks' Joe Thornton and win the Hart Trophy.

Considering Thornton's late-season flourish, assuming that Jagr will win could be a mistake.

One difference that could affect the Hart Trophy vote is age. Jagr is 34, eight years older than Thornton.

It would be difficult to imagine a team asking more of an 26-year-old than the Sharks have gotten from Thornton.

The debate will be waged who deserves to win and the Supreme Court might have to decide the winner, but Thornton would get my vote.

Though Thornton trails Jagr by 25 goals, Jagr is one-dimensional. And the Rangers, while not the League's best team, are still better than San Jose.

The Hart Trophy, decided by a vote of hockey writers, will be announced at the league's annual awards night June 22 in Vancouver.

Then the argument over the top player can be settled.

Or not.
Sound stupid? Of course it does. And it's taken almost verbatim as a combination of two recent articles appearing in Pennsylvania papers with Thornton's name subbed in for Sidney Crosby's and Jagr's subbed for Alexander Ovechkin's. Those articles, Shelly Anderson's reasoning as to why Sidney Crosby should win the Calder and a similar article from the Beaver County Times (how the Times can even publish a day after being snubbed by the Pulitzer committee shows the paper's commitment to excellence), are hometown efforts to hype up the local hero and his great season and to that extent are well-deserved.

But this notion that Crosby should get added consideration because he's younger and therefore his achievements are more impressive than Ovechkin's are ridiculous and the assertion that The Kid somehow has been surrounded by less talent this season than AO is just insulting to the intelligence of any hockey fans who might stumble across this pap.

As mentioned in today's Roundup, Off Wing Opinion smacks down the Anderson article on its substance (comical in its own right), but I'm still left wondering one thing: will Anderson and her colleagues be as dismissive of the 2006-07 accomplishments of a 20-year-old Russian Elite League veteran Evgeni Malkin as they are of Alexander Ovechkin's achievements in 2005-06? Somehow I doubt it.

(Cap tip to fjc33 for some of the inspiration for this post)