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Ovechkin enjoying first trip to Las Vegas

by Shawn P. Roarke
LAS VEGAS -- Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin is enjoying his first trip to Las Vegas for Thursday's NHL Awards Show here at The Palms.

After all, this truly American city is all energy, all loudness all in-your face, just like Ovechkin plays the game of hockey.

"You can go to some show, nightlife," Ovechkin said. "It's great for us and for the fans, too."

Ovechkin is a finalist for the League MVP award, the Hart Trophy, which will be presented during Thursday night's NHL Award Show from The Palms. He will also receive his award, the Rocket Richard Trophy, for leading the League in goal scoring.

Ovechkin did not want to make any predictions Wednesday about what will happen Thursday when the Hart Trophy is announced. He is going up against Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk.

"I want to win," Ovechkin said minutes before he took part in the NHL Charity Shootout Presented by, a charity poker tournament. "If I don't win, I'll still be happy because I'm nominated. There's lots of players and I'm in the top three and that is a pretty good result."

As for his competition, Ovechkin says he did not watch the other two Hart finalists battle it out in this spring's memorable seven-game Stanley Cup Final between Malkin's Pittsburgh Penguins and Datsyuk's Detroit Red Wings. The Penguins won in seven games, coming back from a 2-0 series deficit. Malkin, the leading scorer in the playoffs, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

"I try to forget hockey for a couple of months and concentrate on my vacation," Ovechkin told "I don't want to see how the guys celebrate. I want to be in that spot, I want to win Stanley Cup."

And, he says that the training for next year's quest will begin soon. He has a few more weeks of fun and sun -- including this week's stop in Vegas -- on his vacation itinerary and then it becomes all business again in a month or so.

"Next year, it's my dream to be in the Final and take the Cup," Oveckin told "So, it is going to be fun."

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