While it certainly wasn't a surprise that Alex Ovechkin earned a nomination for the Hart Trophy for the second straight year, it was a bit of a surprise one of the players he won't be up against this June in Las Vegas.
Many expected perhaps Ovechkin would be up against Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the MVP award, only Malkin made the cut of the final three top vote totals, as Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings was the other finalist, meaning it's an all-Russian affair for the trophy.
Ovechkin does have a good chance at the Trophy, as the star's 56 goals and strong play helped Washington earn the second seed in the Eastern Conference. While he finished three points short of Malkin's league-leading total of 113, his points were evenly distributed, while the Pens' star struggled a bit down the stretch point-wise, and Pittsburgh certainly needed a late rally to make the postseason.
Datsyuk, who also is nominated for the Selke and Lady Byng, finished fourth in points (97) for the West's second-seeded Red Wings, and certainly was one of the main catalysts on a star-studded Detroit roster.
But it is interesting that voters overlooked Crosby, who finished third in the NHL in points and second and assists, and also had won the 2007 Hart Trophy.