Ovechkin wins jackpot at NHL awards
LAS VEGAS -- He is Alex The Great -- again.
Ovechkin also walked off with the NHL Players' Association's Lester B. Pearson Award, given to the most outstanding player in voting by fellow players.
"What a life," Ovechkin said after winning the Pearson for his first jackpot at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
It made no difference that the awards ceremony was moved to Sin City from Toronto to make it a glitzier spectacle. Ovechkin, the leading goal scorer each of the past two seasons, stood out above the rest.
Ovechkin led the league with 56 goals and was second with 110 points. Voters for the Hart Trophy overwhelmingly picked Ovechkin over Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, awarding him 115 of 131 first-place votes to make him the first back-to-back Hart winner since Buffalo goalie Dominik Hasek in 1997 and '98.
"It's important for me. What I'm doing on the ice, it's working and I don't want to stop," Ovechkin said. "Right now, I'm the best, but next year everyone will be better."
Ovechkin said he planned to send his trophies to his family's home in Russia for safekeeping.
"My parents take care of it," the 23-year-old winger said. He also won $10,000 for the award.
Datsyuk couldn't top Ovechkin for the Hart or Pearson awards, but he did pull off a double play for the second consecutive season. Datsyuk, the Red Wings' outstanding two-way center, claimed the Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward and the Lady Byng for gentlemanly play and skill.
"Second," Datsyuk said after winning the Lady Byng, "Now I'm more confident."
Datsyuk, who nearly helped the Red Wings to a second straight Stanley Cup title after returning from injury during the finals, has won the Lady Byng four consecutive years and the Selke twice in a row.
The Boston Bruins made a disappointing exit in the second round of the playoffs after posting the best record in the Eastern Conference, but they took home multiple awards on Thursday.
Tim Thomas, who had a 2.10 goals-against average, won the Vezina Trophy for best goalie, and 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara earned the Norris Trophy as top defenseman, breaking the three-year winning streak of Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom had won it six of the past seven seasons.
Thomas called his trophy a dream that he wasn't used to thinking about.
"I had been more worried about getting my name on a roster than about winning the Vezina Trophy," he said.
Thomas took 22 of 26 first-place votes in the Vezina voting.
Bruins coach Claude Julien was given the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top bench boss.
Columbus goalie Steve Mason took the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year after leading the NHL with 10 shutouts and ranking second with a 2.29 goals-against average. He was the first rookie to lead the NHL in shutouts since Chicago's Tony Esposito in 1970.
Steve Sullivan has won the NHL's Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey after returning to the ice after missing nearly two full years.
Sullivan thanked his teammates, coaches and fans for sticking with him after he sustained a back injury in February 2007. Sullivan topped Detroit's Chris Chelios and Florida's Richard Zednik in voting for the award.
Pittsburgh's Malkin settled for being a finalist after winning the regular season and playoff scoring titles. Votes were cast before the Penguins' run to the Stanley Cup championship.
The league moved its awards show to Las Vegas from Toronto in hopes that injecting some Sin City glitz would generate buzz for its players and the sport.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in moving the show that Las Vegas would give it more room to expand its year-end celebration of its players. Las Vegas, he said, would attract more fans and celebrities and make things more exciting for players honored as the best of the best.
The show included performances from singers Robin Thicke and Chaka Khan, as well as several celebrity appearances.
The league also announced its All-Star teams Thursday night, with Calgary winger Jarome Iginla joining Ovechkin, Thomas, Green, Chara and Malkin on the top squad.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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