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Alex Ovechkin Named Sporting News Player of the Year

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin has been named the 2008 NHL Player of the Year by the Sporting News, as selected by a vote of players from around the league. Ovechkin received 250 of a possible 287 votes as the player of the year.

Ovechkin and defenseman Mike Green were both named to the publication’s 2008 All-Star Team, which was also selected by vote of their peers. They were joined by forwards Jarome Iginla (Calgary) and Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh), defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit) and goaltender Martin Brodeur (New Jersey) on the All-Star Team, making Washington the only club with two selections to the team.
The Sporting News NHL awards appear in the May 26 issue of the magazine and on the publication’s website at
Ovechkin and Green led the league in goals and goals by a defenseman, respectively, the first teammates to do so since Hall of Famers Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey in 1988-89. On Sunday they were both named to the all-tournament team at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship, where Ovechkin’s Russian team won the gold and Green took silver with Canada.
Ovechkin has been named a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player by vote of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the league’s most outstanding player by vote of the NHL Players’ Association. The winners of those awards will be announced Thursday, June 12, during the 2008 NHL Awards Television Special, which will be broadcast live throughout the United States on VERSUS and in Canada on CBC from the historic Elgin Theatre in Toronto.
Ovechkin has already claimed the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top point scorer (112 points) and the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the top goal scorer (65 goals). He also led the league in power-play goals (22), game-winning goals (11) and shots (446), while playing all 82 games. Ovechkin scored a higher percentage of his team’s goals than any other player (27.3%) and had a hand in more of his team’s goals than any other player (47.1%).
His 65 goals set a Capitals record and an NHL record for goals by a left wing. Ovechkin wrapped up his third NHL season as the first player since 1996 to reach 60 goals and one of only 12 players all-time to score 65 or more goals. Ovechkin shared the NHL lead with three hat tricks and had two of the league’s four four-goal games all season.
Ovechkin’s +28 rating was seventh in the league and tied for first on the team with Viktor Kozlov and he was among the league’s top 10 in hits (220) and takeaways (69).
Ovechkin, who led the Capitals to the playoffs for the first time since 2003, appeared in his second NHL All-Star Game in January. He was the NHL’s First Star for the months of January and March and was a five-time selection as one of the Three Stars of the week. Ovechkin was named the MVP and the league’s best player by The Hockey News, the “Monster of the Year” by TSN’s Pierre McGuire, the Clutch Scorer and a unanimous choice for MVP by USA Today’s panel and the “Espo Award” winner as the league MVP by Phil Esposito of XM Radio NHL Home Ice.
Green led NHL defensemen in goals (18) and ranked seventh in points (56). He led the Capitals in average ice time (23:38) and set a Capitals single-season record with three overtime goals.
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