Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin Named to NHL First All-Star Team
/ Washington Capitals
ARLINGTON, VA. – Washington Capitals Mike Green and Alex Ovechkin’s remarkable 2008-09 seasons earn each of them a spot on the NHL First All-Star Team, making Washington the only team with two honorees. The NHL released the teams, which were determined by a vote of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, at the NHL Awards Show Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Ovechkin has been named to the first team in each of his four years in the league. He joins former Montreal goaltender Bill Durnan as the only two players in NHL history to earn first team status in each of their first four seasons.
Ovechkin and Green’s appearance on the NHL First All-Star Team marked the first time the Capitals have had two players on the first team. Both players were selected by the Capitals in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Green is the first Capitals defenseman since Scott Stevens 21 years ago to earn first-team status and the third defenseman ever to be honored (joining Stevens and Rod Langway). He was the leading vote-getter among defensemen with 107 first-team votes. Ovechkin, who had 130 first-team votes for left wing (and one as right wing), remains the only Capitals forward to be named to the postseason all-star team.
The rest of the first team was comprised of goaltender Tim Thomas (Boston), defenseman Zdeno Chara (Boston), center Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh) and right wing Jarome Iginla (Calgary).
Ovechkin and Green led Washington to a club-record 108 points in 2008-09 and tied the club record with 50 victories. The Capitals won the Southeast Division for the second year in a row and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1998.
Green’s eight-game goal streak (Jan. 27 to Feb. 14) set a NHL record for a defenseman and matched the longest streak in the NHL since 1997-98 (Teemu Selanne, 11 games). The Calgary, Alberta, native had eight more goals and nine more points than any other defenseman despite missing 14 games due to injury, finishing with 31 goals and 73 points. The Capitals were 20-4-2 when he scored a goal and 33-5-4 when he registered a point.
At 23, Green became the youngest defenseman with 30 goals since Paul Coffey in 1983-84 and had the most goals by an NHL defenseman since former Capitals Kevin Hatcher had 34 in 1992-93. He was just the seventh defenseman in NHL history to score 30 goals in a season and the first to do it while playing fewer than 70 games. He led all defenseman and ranked seventh in the NHL (minimum 20 game played) with 1.07 points per game. His 73 points were the most points by a defenseman in the NHL since 2005-06 (Nicklas Lidstrom, 80).
Green’s 18 power-play goals ranked fourth in the league and set a Capitals record for power-play goals by a defenseman (one shy of the NHL record). Green finished second on the team and tied for fifth among NHL defensemen with a +24 rating.
Green won the “Espo Award” as the best defenseman in the league from Phil Esposito on NHL Home Ice and was named to the first all-star team by The Sporting News. He was the NHL’s Second Star for the month of February after scoring 20 points in 13 games.