Avs, Senators tough to beat

Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic and Markus Naslund are just some of the candidates for the Hart Trophy at the halfway point.

Updated: January 9, 2004, 3:36 PM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
The NHL just passed the halfway mark of the season, so here's a look at the front-runners for postseason awards and conference championships as well as the most surprising and disappointing teams through Thursday night's games.

Hart Trophy front-runner -- Mats Sundin

This becomes a tougher pick as the season goes on, but I'll give the Toronto Maple Leafs captain the edge over Colorado center Joe Sakic, Vancouver left winger Markus Naslund, Atlanta left winger Ilya Kovalchuk and New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur.