Ovechkin had a very disappointing season, finishing with the lowest point totals he'd had in his career (up until that point) and struggling on his team's side of center ice. He did not "carry his team on his back", which is why he didn't receive a single top three vote. It would have been poor optics to give a one-dimensional winger, having the worst year of his career, a top three finish in Hart voting. Washington was lucky they played in a weak division and an easier than usual Eastern Conference.
Zetterberg definitely deserved a place higher up the Hart rankings than OV, as did Price, Rinne, Perry, Thomas, Fleury and, yes, even Daniel Sedin. The reason Z didn't earn that high of a spot was because of his offense. A 24 point gap between him and Daniel Sedin is hard to make up with intangibles.
Z was 8th in scoring with 80 points. How hard is it to vote for an elite defensive forward who finishes 8th in scoring with no teammates helping him out offensively? Datsyuk was the next-closest forward at 59 points and he missed 26 games.
Datsyuk has Zetterberg's Selkes due to that flashiness.
That's a croc. The only one that was even arguable was 08 and it probably wouldn't be discussed without Z's postseason and more specifically his series vs Crosby. Selke's aren't based on postseason play though.
Z's defensive game was at its peak during that point in time. Not coincidentally, this was the last time that Datsyuk was on his line more often than not.
When Hossa signed it gave a reason for Babcock to finally split them (which he always wanted despite how great they were together.) Datsyuk was given Hossa because he was the better playmaker and despite good numbers they weren't a great fit. Regardless, Datsyuk was still the best defensive forward on that team. Babcock even switched Hossa and Franzen for a while and Datsyuk played the best he had that season. Unfortunately, Zetterberg and Hossa were terrible together (especially defensively - couldn't get out of their own zone too often) so Babcock re-switched the wingers prior to the postseason.
While Z's defensive game has slightly slipped (mostly due to skating IMO), Datsyuk's has not. He was just as good in 2011 as he was in 2008. In fact, Babcock has given Datsyuk a lot of the tougher assignments the past couple of seasons, despite the fact that Z was given the better defensive wingers. Last season specifically Datsyuk was matched head to head against the majority of top centers at home. On the road opposing coaches have hidden from it. That's why Datsyuk rarely sees the ice against the Sedins, the kids in Edmonton, etc in their own buildings.
Datsyuk is the better player, but I like Zetterberg more and would want him more on the Pens. also, I really feel there is no big difference if any between them when it comes to their two way play. I think Zetterberg deserved at least one Smythe himself. Babcock thinks this too...