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Capitals' Ovechkin captures Hart Trophy as Most Valuable Player @NHLdotcom

TORONTO  -- Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin capped an award-filled season by winning his first career Hart Trophy as the National Hockey League's Most Valuable Player and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings captured his sixth Norris Trophy as the League's top defenseman at the 2008 NHL Awards Show.

Ovechkin was a runaway choice for the Hart, receiving 128 of 134 first-place votes for 1,313 points in voting by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who tallied one first-place vote and was the second choice on 66 ballots, was runner-up with 659 points.

Ovechkin tallied 112 points (65 goals, 47 assists) in 82 regular-season games, collecting the Art Ross Trophy as NHL scoring leader and Maurice Richard Trophy as the League’s top goal scorer. He also led all players in power-play goals (22) and game-winning goals (11). Ovechkin set the single-season NHL record for goals by a left wing, surpassing Luc Robitaille's 63 with Los Angeles in 1992-93, and his 65 goals were the most by an NHL player since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96.

Lidstrom, who was the top choice on 127 of 134 Norris Trophy ballots, becomes the third defenseman in League history with six or more Norris wins, joining Hockey Hall of Fame members Bobby Orr (eight) and Doug Harvey (seven). Lidstrom led all NHL defensemen in scoring with 70 points (10 goals, 60 assists), ranked second in the NHL in plus-minus (+40) and was fourth among all players in average ice time per game (26:43).

Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk was a multiple winner, capturing the Lady Byng Trophy for combining sportsmanship with a high standard of play and the Frank Selke Trophy as the League's top defensive forward. Datsyuk becomes the second player to win both trophies in the same season and the first since the Pittsburgh Penguins' Ron Francis in 1995.

Datsyuk's Lady Byng win was his third in as many seasons, making him the first player to capture the award three consecutive times since the New York Rangers' Frank Boucher from 1933-35. Datsyuk finished fourth in the NHL scoring race with a career-high 97 points (31 goals, 66 assists) in 82 games. He led the club in scoring for a third consecutive season, matching the feat of franchise greats Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman.

In capturing his first Frank Selke Trophy as the League’s outstanding defensive forward, Datsyuk led all NHL players in plus-minus with a career-best +41 rating, topped all NHL forwards with 144 takeaways, 67% more than his nearest rival (Dallas' Mike Modano, 86) and ranked first among Red Wings forwards in blocked shots (42). The Red Wings posted the top defensive record in the NHL with 184 goals-against.

Other honorees included Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. The first overall pick in the 2007 Entry Draft tallied 16 points in October, the most by an NHL rookie in the season's opening month since 1992-93. His shootout goal against Buffalo childhood hero Dominik Hasek in his second NHL game gave the Blackhawks their first victory of the season -- a 4-3 decision over Detroit Oct. 6. Kane finished the season as the League's rookie scoring leader and tops on the Blackhawks with 72 points (21 goals, 51 assists) in 82 games.

The New Jersey Devils' Martin Brodeur claimed the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender for the fourth time in the past five seasons, edging the San Jose Sharks' Evgeni Nabokov 113-106 in the closest race among all awards. Brodeur posted a 44-27-6 record with a 2.17 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and four shutouts, ranking among League leaders in minutes played (first, 4,635), wins (second) and goals-against average (fifth).

The Capitals' Bruce Boudreau won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach, edging Guy Carbonneau of the Montreal Canadiens by 12 points (208-196). Named head coach Nov. 22 with the 6-14-1 Capitals at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, Boudreau led his club to a 37-17-7 mark the rest of the way -- capped by seven consecutive victories to close the season -- and captured the Southeast Division title in the season's final game. He became the fastest Capitals coach to 20 victories (34 games) and 30 victories (53 games) in franchise history.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian contributions to his community. Lecavalier has made community giving and charitable work a part of his daily life since joining the Lightning a decade ago. In October 2007, Lecavalier made his largest commitment yet to the Tampa Bay community, announcing a $3-million pledge to construct the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Commissioner Gary Bettman presented the inaugural NHL Lifetime Achievement Award to Gordie Howe, whose contributions to the game have spanned decades and whose name became more closely aligned with hockey than any other. Over an unprecedented 26-year NHL playing career which began in 1946 and ended in 1980, "Mr. Hockey" played in a record 1,767 games, won six Hart Trophies as MVP, six scoring titles, four Stanley Cups and was a 21-time NHL All-Star. He retired from the NHL at age 52 with League-record totals of 801 goals and 1,850 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Jason Blake received the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. In October, Blake was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a rare but treatable form of cancer. Nonetheless, the Hibbing, Minn. native completed the season as one of only three players to appear in all 82 Maple Leafs games.

The Red Wings' Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood, who shared the William Jennings Trophy as goaltenders on the club allowing the fewest regular-season goals, also were acknowledged at the NHL Awards Show this evening.

The Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) cast ballots for the Hart, Norris, Selke, Lady Byng and Calder Trophies. The PHWA also voted on the Masterton Trophy. The 30 NHL General Managers voted on the Vezina Trophy. The NHL Broadcasters' Association (NHLBA) submitted votes for the Jack Adams Award, and a special panel of representatives from the PHWA and NHLBA chose the King Clancy winner. Voting for these awards was conducted at the conclusion of the regular season.

Balloting results were tabulated by the accounting firm Ernst & Young, with the exception of the Masterton and King Clancy trophies. The results for these awards were tabulated by the PHWA and the National Hockey League, respectively.

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