November 9th, 1997 is a date that many wrestling fans (and who wasn't) will remember as the Montreal Screwjob, where Bret Hart was run out of the WWE when Shawn Michaels put him in the Sharpshooter and Earl Hebner rang the bell early with Vince McMahon by ringside ordering him to. Hart lost the title, was screwed over, and "jobbed" when all was said and done.
Now, we can call April 29th, 2010 the Buffalo Screwjob, as Ryan Miller can kind of feel the same way.
The Hart Trophy nominees for the league most valuable player were announced today, with Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Henrik Sedin announced as the finalist. This is much to my own surprise, who didn't think Ovechkin should have been put in the category of this, even with his 50 goal and 100+ point season. Miller did more for the Sabres than Ovechkin did for the Caps-- especially since Nicklas Backstrom broke out for the Capitals with his own 100 point season. Miller had 41 wins (4th in the NHL), a 2.22 GAA (2nd), and .929 save percentage (2nd) with five shutouts (7th), 1,948 saves (3rd) on 2,098 shots against (4th). That's pretty damn valuable, if you ask me.
While you'll have many people complaining about how goalie shouldn't be able to get nominated for the Hart because they have their own Vezina Trophy for the best goalie, thus shouldn't be considered for the award. To that end, why don't you have more goalie awards that aren't based on stats, like the forwards have. The goalies awards are more stat based, like the William Jennings Trophy (fewest goals against) and Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award (highest save percentage). Why shouldn't goalies be considered for individual awards, especially since you really key in on goalies when you talk about what can make or break a team.
The exclusion of Miller (or to a lesser extent, Ilya Bryzgalov) is a shame for the voters of these awards. Goalies are as important as the forwards or defenseman and shouldn't be resigned to their only award that isn't stats based. The Hart Trophy itself is to be award to the player deemed to be most valuable to his team. If take away Miller or Bryzgalov from their respective teams, are the teams as good as they were with them on it. The answer is no, of course. Albeit-- you can say that the three finalist this year were pretty soild and two of the three make have made or broken their team for the season; you have to include the likes of Miller in that final group-- even if he doesn't win.
With all the stuff being thrown around, the fact remains that if you go by the criteria that the Hart Trophy is about; Ryan Miller got jobbed worse that Bret Hart. You take Miller off the Sabres this year, you're left with Patrick Lalime and Jhonas Enroth. The Sabres probably wouldn't have made the playoffs, much less win the Northeast Division. Miller was the most valuable to his team and this award really should be his-- and it's a travesty he won't even get a sniff at it.