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Alex Ovechkin Nominated for ESPY as Best NHL Player

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals left wing Alexander Ovechkin has been nominated for the ESPY Award for Best NHL Player, the winner of which will be determined by fan voting that is open now at Voting continues in 37 categories through 11:59 p.m. ET on July 12.

It is the third ESPY nomination of Ovechkin’s career, as he was up for two awards after his rookie season in 2005-06: Best Breakthrough Athlete and Best NHL Player. Also nominated for Best NHL Player this year are Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Jarome Igilna (Calgary) and Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh). The 2008 ESPY Awards will be held on Sunday, July 20, at the Nokia Theater L.A. Live in Los Angeles and will be hosted by Justin Timberlake.

The nomination marks the latest in a series of honors this season for the 22-year-old Moscow native, who last month became the first player to win the NHL’s Hart Trophy (most valuable player), Lester B. Pearson Award (outstanding player as voted by his peers), Art Ross Trophy (leading point scorer) and Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (leading goal scorer) in the same season since the inception of the Richard Trophy in 1998-99.

Ovechkin led the NHL in points (112), goals (65), 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%).

Ovechkin’s 65 goals set a Capitals record and an NHL record for goals by a left wing. He 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.

His +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, signed a new 13-year contract with Washington on Jan. 10. He appeared in his second NHL All-Star Game in January, 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. He was voted a Sporting News All-Star and the Sporting News Player of the Year with 250 of a possible 287 votes from fellow players. Ovechkin won the Kharlamov Trophy as the top Russian-born player in the NHL for the third year in a row.
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