It’s not surprising that Adam Oates is promoting Alex Ovechkin for the Hart Trophy, which goes to the National Hockey League player “adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”

You could make an argument that Ovechkin saved Oates’s job as head coach of the Washington Capitals, although you would have to think general manager George McPhee would have cut the coach some slack because (a) we’re dealing with a shortened season and (b) Oates is new to the coaching game.

The Capitals got off to a slow start, winning only one of their first 11 games. Ovechkin contributed to the slow start by not contributing to the offence, with three goals and four assists — along with a minus-5 — during the slump.

But Ovechkin has 18 goals in the last 17 games and the Capitals moved into first place in the Southeast Division with an eight-game winning streak that was snapped Thursday night in Ottawa.

The Capitals’ success prompted reporters to ask Oates if he thought Ovechkin was Hart-worthy.

“I’m obviously very biased about that, so my answer would be: ‘Yup, absolutely,’” Oates said.

“Obviously, Sidney Crosby is another candidate, for sure,” Oates added. “He had such a scoring lead, but I think you have to factor in the fact that he missed a lot of games.”

Crosby, who is sidelined with a broken jaw, leads the NHL with 56 points in 36 games, while Ovechkin has 48 points in 44 games, including a league-leading 28 goals.