An unprecedented battle for the scoring king. It may come to the criterion that once crowned Jagr

An unprecedented battle for the scoring king. It may come to the criterion that once crowned Jagr
An unprecedented battle for the scoring king. It may come to the criterion that once crowned Jagr

Boredom. Or even a formality. Such have been the battles for the Art Ross Trophy for the most productive man in NHL hockey in recent years. This time it’s different. It’s shaping up to be the most engaging battle since 2015.

Six times in the last eight NHL seasons, the king of productivity had a double-digit lead over others.

Even the other two cases did not offer an exciting spectacle. Connor McDavid won by six and eight points.

We have to wait until 2015 for the real drama.

Jamie Benn shone on the last day of the regular season with a 3+1 record and with a total of 87 points, he won the Art Ross Trophy by one point ahead of John Tavares and three ahead of Sidney Crosby. By the way, Jakub Voráček was also in the game, but because he came up empty in the final two races, he finished fifth with 81 points.

Now, after nine years, the fight to the last moment is looming again, only without Czech participation.

Even in the first quarter of the regular season, David Pastrňák was one of the hot candidates for the valuable trophy, but then he gradually took a loss.

Nikita Kučerov from Tampa and Nathan MacKinnon from Colorado broke away, joined by McDavid from Edmonton thanks to a famous chase.

Kucherov and MacKinnon are tied on 127 points with the Russian having eight more matches to play, while the Canadian has just seven. McDavid has 126 points, but will play nine more times.

The drawn-out can climax grandiosely. MacKinnon’s Colorado and McDavid’s Edmonton will meet at the end of the regular season.

Many are betting on McDavid, considered by most to be the best hockey player on the planet.

The Canadian giant started the season – by his standards – miserably, when he managed only ten points from eleven games and was stuck on the 107th place in the league’s productivity, but after a change of coach, when Jay Woodcroft was replaced by Kris Knoblauch, he revived.

“Given how he’s been struggling, like all of us, it’s great to see him back this high,” defender Mattias Ekholm praised his teammate from Edmonton.

“You journalists have seen his matches in the last three months, he’s pulling us incredibly hard. He’s the best player in the world,” he recalled.

But the fact is that even if McDavid finishes powerfully, his two partners certainly did not flinch.

In the last ten games, MacKinnon scored 16 times, Kučerov 21 times. Therefore, McDavid’s 23 points in the same stretch do not seem out of this world. Predicting an overall winner remains tricky.

In the end, the battle may well end with the status quo. That is, equality of points.

This has only happened three times in NHL history, most recently in the lockout-shortened 1994/95 season, when Jaromír Jágr amassed the same 70 points as Erik Lindros.

The Art Ross Trophy then went to the long-haired Czech winger because he scored three more goals than Lindros. If they had the same number, the Canadian would celebrate, because he played two games less. The rules further state that if the two mentioned criteria do not help, the prize will be awarded to the one who scores first in the season.

This means that MacKinnon, who has hit 47 times, has a slight advantage in the current race. Kučerov with 42 goals can still catch up with him, but McDavid has no chance with 29 goals.

For the best player on the planet, whose next coronation few doubted, it is not enough to match his juices in points. He has to overcome them.

If he can do that, he will win his fourth consecutive Art Ross Trophy, which was last accomplished by Jagr at the turn of the millennium.

The article is in Czech

Tags: unprecedented battle scoring king criterion crowned Jagr


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