LAS VEGAS -- Washington Capitals
left wing Alex Ovechkin
became the first repeat winner of the Hart Trophy as the National Hockey League's Most Valuable Player in over a decade and three members of the Boston Bruins
captured trophies at the 2009 NHL Awards at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas.
Ovechkin was a runaway choice for the Hart, receiving 115 of 133 first-place votes for 1,264 points in balloting by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who tallied 12 first-place votes and was the second choice on 71 ballots, was runner-up for the second consecutive season with 787 points. Ovechkin is the first repeat winner of the Hart Trophy since Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dominik Hasek in 1997 and 1998.
Ovechkin powered the Capitals to a second consecutive Southeast Division title by capturing the Maurice Richard Trophy with a League-leading 56 goals -- the third time in his four NHL seasons he eclipsed the 50-goal mark. Ovechkin’s 528 shots on goal were the second-highest single-season total in NHL history behind Phil Esposito’s 550 in 1970-71. His 19 power-play goals ranked second in the League and his 10 game-winning goals placed third.
In recognition of their dramatic revival in 2008-09, three members of the Boston Bruins were victorious tonight. Zdeno Chara captured his first Norris Trophy as the League's top defenseman in his third time as a finalist. Chara was the cornerstone of a Bruins defense that helped the club post the NHL's lowest goals-per-game figure this season (2.29). He ranked sixth in the NHL in average ice time (26:04), was 12th among all defensemen in scoring with 50 points (19 goals, 31 assists) and posted a +23 rating.
The Bruins' Claude Julien won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in voting by members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association. Julien guided the Bruins to the Eastern Conference's top record, finishing 53-19-10 for 116 points -- the third-highest total in franchise history, a 22-point increase over 2007-08 and 40 points more than 2006-07. The Bruins ranked second in the NHL in offense with 274 goals, a dramatic turnaround from their #25 ranking in 2007-08 when they tallied 212.
The Bruins' Tim Thomas claimed his first Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender in voting among League General Managers. Thomas backstopped the Bruins to their highest victory (53) and points (116) totals since 1971-72. He led the NHL in goals against average (2.10) and save percentage (.933) while posting a career-high 36 wins.
Thomas and teammate Manny Fernandez also received the William Jennings Trophy as goaltenders on the club allowing the fewest regular-season goals.
Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk was a multiple winner for the second consecutive year, 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 is the first player to win both trophies in back-to-back seasons.
Datsyuk joins Hockey Hall of Fame forward Frank Boucher as the only players in League history to capture the Lady Byng Trophy for four consecutive seasons. Boucher claimed the trophy from 1928 through 1931 with the New York Rangers. Datsyuk finished fourth in the NHL scoring race with 97 points (32 goals, 65 assists), equaling his career high set in 2007-08. He ranked third in plus-minus with a +34 rating and was whistled for just 11 minor penalties totaling 22 minutes.
In capturing his second consecutive Frank Selke Trophy as the League’s outstanding defensive forward, Datsyuk edged Philadelphia Flyers center Mike Richards 945-942 in the closest Selke vote since the trophy was introduced in 1978. Datsyuk ranked second among NHL players in takeaways with 89, placed third in plus-minus with a +34 rating and won 56% of his face-offs (636 of 1,135).
Other honorees included Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason, who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. Named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for both November and December, he posted a franchise-record three straight shutouts in late December during a four-game winning streak in which he stopped 94 of 95 shots. Mason finished strong, going 8-2-4 from Mar. 7-Apr.8 as Columbus captured the first playoff berth in franchise history. His 10 shutouts led the League and his 2.29 goals against average ranked second to Tim Thomas’ 2.10 for Boston.
Less than a week after lifting the Stanley Cup and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin accepted his first career Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's regular-season scoring leader. Malkin tallied a career-high 113 points (35 goals, 78 assists) to edge Ovechkin, last year's Art Ross champion (56-54--110).
Commissioner Gary Bettman presented the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award to Jean Béliveau, who played his entire 20-season career with the Montreal Canadiens, the last 10 as team captain, and retired in 1971 as a 10-time Stanley Cup winner. He finished his NHL career with 507 goals and 712 assists for 1,219 points in 1,125 regular-season games and added 79 goals and 97 assists for 176 points in 162 playoff games. Beyond these impressive statistics, Béliveau is acknowledged as one of hockey's classiest individuals. As an executive with the Canadiens, he contributed to another seven Stanley Cup championships and remains a great asset to the club as a goodwill ambassador.
Nashville Predators forward Steve Sullivan received the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Sullivan's perseverance was measured in months, not weeks or days. He missed almost two full years – 687 days, to be precise – following a back injury suffered in February of 2007. When Sullivan returned to the Nashville lineup on Jan. 10, he became just the third player since World War II (Mario Lemieux, Jim Peplinski) to play 150 games with a team, then miss at least 600 consecutive days before returning to the same team.
Three players were honored tonight for their outstanding leadership and community service: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash received the NHL Foundation Award, Edmonton Oilers captain Ethan Moreau accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.
The Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) cast ballots for the Hart, Norris, Selke, Lady Byng, Calder and Masterton Trophies. The 30 NHL General Managers voted on the Vezina Trophy. The NHL Broadcasters' Association (NHLBA) submitted votes for the Jack Adams Award. Voting for these awards was conducted at the conclusion of the regular season and tabulated by the accounting firm Ernst & Young with the exception of the Masterton Trophy, which was tabulated by the PHWA.