With only a handful of games left in the season, I've added a new poll. Who deserves to be named Battle MVP? What we did is took two candidates from each of our four teams (Buf, NJD, NYI, NYR). Seven are traditional in the sense that they're players. Renarkably, we decided to include a coach for one of the best turnarounds in league history regardless of how it plays out. The choices are as follows:
Sabres-Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford
Devils-Ilya Kovalchuk, Jacques Lemaire
Islanders-Michael Grabner, Matt Moulson
Rangers-Ryan Callahan, Henrik Lundqvist
What you have here are in my opinion, the best eight in what's been a crazy season for every club. All have had incredible peaks and valleys highlighted by the Devils' first half ineptitude to an incredible run which is still alive. That can be attributed to Jacques Lemaire, who turned Ilya Kovalchuk into a better player and got everyone to buy into his defensive oriented system. Never an easy thing to do midseason. The Islanders are right behind thanks to a similar transformation under Jack Capuano, who amazingly still hasn't been named head coach. What are they waiting for? While Blake Comeau and John Tavares have made improvements, the nod still goes to Calder candidate Michael Grabner, who became only the third Islander rookie to score 30 goals, joining Islander greats Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier. Matt Moulson was an easy choice because he's the glue of the club, scoring 30 a second consecutive year to prove last season wasn't any fluke. Representing the Rangers are the team's heart and soul Ryan Callahan and the backbone Henrik Lundqvist. It's impossible to ignore Callahan's stellar play down the stretch. He's already got 14 points (7-7-14) in the month featuring his first career hat trick- a virtuoso four goal, five-point performance in a 7-0 rout of the Flyers, which sparked the club to six wins in seven including the current four-game win streak they bring into tonight versus Florida. He already has new highs in goals (23), assists (23) and points (46) despite missing 20 games. As for Lundqvist, since Martin Biron went down, all the King has done is elevate his play winning six of seven while recording a record sixth straight season of 30+ wins and pacing the league with nine shutouts. He definitely should be included for the Vezina.
There were other choices that could've been selected. But we tried to limit it to two. So, who deserves to be the first ever Battle MVP? It's up to you! Not Frank Sinatra.