- Craig Custance
What's a good emergency goalie plan in Chicago? When will the Panthers be relevant? Which goalie has the best shot at the Hart Trophy? All this and more in this week's hockey mailbag. If you want to be featured in next week's mailbag, send in your questions and observations here.
When will Tuukka Rask get his due credit as a Hart Trophy candidate?
Jeff Clifton, Orange, Calif.
Goalies have an uphill battle to win the Hart because some misguided voters, such as my colleague Pierre LeBrun, feel like goalies have their own award in the Vezina Trophy, so they typically leave them off their Hart ballots. This is even though nowhere on the award description does it specify the award should go to a forward. I typically have at least one goalie on my ballot, and I would have put Sergei Bobrovsky as No. 1 last season if the Blue Jackets had made the playoffs.
I think Rask's chances are also hurt because he plays on the best team in the Eastern Conference. The wording of the award specifies that it should be given to the "player judged most valuable to his team." You could argue that a player like Zdeno Chara or Patrice Bergeron is just as valuable as Rask in Boston. If I were to include a goalie on my ballot at this moment, I'd put Josh Harding or Ben Bishop before Rask.
What's a good emergency goalie plan in Chicago? When will the Panthers be relevant? Which goalie has the best shot at the Hart Trophy? All this and more in this week's hockey mailbag.