Chances are excellent Sidney Crosby won't win his third Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player, but it speaks volumes that the Penguins' captain stays in the running year after year.
Crosby was announced Sunday by the league as one of three finalists for the Hart, along with the Lightning's Nikita Kucherov and the Oilers' Connor McDavid. Kucherov is the overwhelming favorite to win it for the first time, fresh off putting up 128 points -- 41 goals, 87 assists -- the most by any player since the 1995-96 season. McDavid will be the longest shot, as Edmonton again failed to make the Stanley Cup playoffs and the award specifies that it should go to "the player adjudged to be most valuable to his team."
All NHL awards will be presented June 19 in Las Vegas.
In Crosby's case, the greatest recognition likely will be of his consistency. At age 31, he's now a finalist for the third time in the past four years, the fifth time in the past seven years. In 2016 and 2017, the years of the Penguins' past two championships, he was a runner-up to the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and McDavid, respectively.
This season, he finished fifth in the NHL with 100 points on 35 goals and 65 assists, marking his ninth output of 30-plus goals, his sixth of 60-plus assists. He also performed at maybe the highest level of his career in the defensive zone.