Alex Ovechkin Repeats as Hart Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award Winner
/ Washington Capitals
ARLINGTON, VA. – Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin laid further claim to the title of the best hockey player in the world, winning the top two honors presented tonight at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the second year in a row, Ovechkin won the Hart Trophy as the player judged most valuable to his team by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most outstanding player as chosen by the members of the NHL Players’ Association.
Ovechkin, who was also presented the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the second year in a row for leading the league in goals (56), is the first player since Dominik Hasek in 1997 and ’98 to win the Hart Trophy in consecutive seasons and the first non-goaltender to do so since Wayne Gretzky won eight in a row from 1980-87. At 23 years old, Ovechkin is the third-youngest player to win consecutive Hart Trophies, behind only Gretzky and Bobby Orr. Ovechkin captured 115 of a possible 133 first-place votes for the Hart Trophy (Pearson voting is not released).
Ovechkin is just the sixth player to win the Pearson in consecutive seasons since it was established in 1970-71 and the first since Jaromir Jagr in 1999 and 2000.
Capitals teammate Sergei Fedorov – who in 1994 became the first Russian to be named the NHL’s most valuable player – presented Ovechkin with the Hart Trophy. Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings were the other finalists for both the Hart and the Pearson. Also in attendance at the Palms Hotel and Casino’s Pearl Concert Theater Thursday night were Capitals chairman and majority owner Ted Leonsis, owners Raul Fernandez and Richard Kay and vice president and general manager George McPhee.
In addition to the NHL goals lead, Ovechkin also led the league in points per game (1.39), shots (528) and power-play points (46). His 110 points in 79 games ranked second in the league, and his goal total was 10 more than any other player. The Moscow native finished the season recording eight more points than any other player after the NHL All-Star Game (51; Malkin and Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh were second with 43 each).
Ovechkin recorded his 200th career goal, 200th career assist and 400th career point during 2008-09, as he led Washington to a second consecutive Southeast Division title. He joined Gretzky and Mario Lemieux as the only players to record 200 goals and 200 assists in their first four NHL seasons.
Ovechkin won the “Espo Award” as the most valuable player in the league from Phil Esposito on NHL Home Ice. He won the Kharlamov Trophy as the top Russian player in the league for the fourth year in a row and was named the Best Player and Most Valuable Player by The Hockey News and player of the year by The Sporting News. Ovechkin was named to his third straight NHL All-Star Game and won the Breakaway Challenge in the SuperSkills competition. He was the NHL’s First Star of the month in November and the Third Star in December.