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06-09-2005, 06:13 PM
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I hope somebody appreciates this because it was a lot of work to find these numbers:

1974-75 Hart:

1. B. Clarke 127
2. R. Vachon 113
3. B. Orr 73
4. B. Parent 54
5. G. Lafleur 43
6. G. Smith 20
7. D. Potvin 16
8. M. Dionne 12
9. R. Dudley 5
9. B. Nevin 5

Vachon very nearly becomes the only goalie from the 70s to win MVP honours; he had a save percentage of .926- that would be a great mark even in today`s era, back then it was even more impressive. Speaking of goalies, that`s Gary Smith at #6. He had a reputation during his career of being a great goalie who was stuck playing on horrible teams- hence his MVP votes. While it`s true that he was bombarded with shots because the defence in front of him was weak; he wasn`t a great goalie, just a slightly above-average one.

The interesting thing about this year was that Phil Esposito, the winner in `74, and the leading goal-scorer this season, didn`t receive a single vote, especially odd considering the votes for non-luminaries like Dudley and Nevin. It may have been because Espo, while still a top goal-scorer, was becoming a defensive liability- partly due to his refusal to change on the fly. His teammate Bobby Orr, with all due respect to Clarke, deserved this award. He was a +80, this was on a team that gave up more than they scored when Orr wasn`t on the ice. The next-highest Bruin was Sheppard at +41. Oh yeah, he won the scoring title too.

1975-76 Hart:

1. B. Clarke 246
2. D. Potvin 75
3. G. Lafleur 62
4. K. Dryden 29
5. B. Park 15
6. J. Ratelle 11
7. P. Mahovlich 10
7. G. Perreault 10
9. D. Sittler 8
10. D. Burrows 5

I`m surprised at how lopsided Clarke`s win was here. It`s a shame that his antics as GM have slightly overshadowed his accomplishments as a player. Potvin becomes the top defenceman in the first non-Orr year, while Lafleur inches up the list. Dave Burrows was a fine defensive-defenceman, but a MVP candidate?

1976-77 Hart:

1. G. Lafleur 177
2. B. Clarke 83
3. R. Vachon 45
4. B. Salming 40
5. L. Robinson 28
5. M. Dionne 28
7. G. Perreault 26
8. J. Ratelle 16
9. D. Sittler 8
9. D. Potvin 8

OK, there it is. The year all you Lafleur fans were waiting for. Chooch called this his favourite Guy year, and let`s give the devil his due- Lafleur was magnificent at his best. Rogie Vachon hits the top 5 for a second time, Mark Howe would do it twice as well, yet they`re not good enough for the Hall of Fame? (how many MVP votes did Larry Murphy ever get?). It`s nice to see Gilbert Perreault and Jean Ratelle on the list again, two of my all-time favourites.

1977-78 Hart:

1. G. Lafleur 145
2. B. Trottier 99
3. D. Sittler 67
4. D. Edwards 34
5. B. Park 31
6. B. Clarke 27
7. D. Potvin 24
8. T. O`Reilly 19
9. T. Esposito 12
10. C. Gillies 5
10. K. Dryden 5
10. L. Robinson 5

Lafleur takes it again, but Trottier offers a preview of things to come. Sittler has the best year of his career. You don`t hear much about Don Edwards anymore, but the fact that he made the list both this season and the following one shows how highly regarded he was at the time. Terry O`Reilly`s appearance may surprise some, but this was actually a career year for him; top 10 in scoring while continuing his aggressive grinding style- un fortunately he wouldn`t be able to match this season again in his career.

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