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Vezina eludes Lundqvist's grasp again

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Lundqvist Interview at NHL Awards Watch

2008 NHL Award Winners

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will have to wait at least one more year before claiming that first Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie.

Henrik Lundqvist poses for his official portrait on Thursday night prior to the NHL Awards show. It marked the third straight year he attended the event.
Lundqvist, a finalist for the honor in each of his first three NHL seasons, lost out on the hardware to New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur at the NHL Awards show on Thursday night in Toronto.

Brodeur claimed the Vezina for the fourth time – and second in a row – on Thursday. The Devils goaltender, whose team was eliminated by the Blueshirts in the opening round of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs, once again finished among the league leaders in goals-against average and save percentage, although his shutout total dropped from 12 in 2006-07 to four in 2007-08.

The award, chosen by the NHL's 30 general managers, went to Brodeur as the result of a very close vote. The Devils goaltender edged San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov  by only seven total points. Brodeur claimed 15 of the 30 first-place votes, while Nabokov earned 13, and Lundqvist and Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom each received one first-place vote. Lundqvist's name appeared on nine of the 30 ballots, as his first-place vote enabled him to place ahead of Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere for third place. Giguere appeared on nine ballots with no first-place votes.

Lundqvist was not the only Ranger to receive votes for a major NHL award this year. Balloting released Thursday night showed that center Brandon Dubinsky had placed 10th in voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year. Nigel Dawes was two slots behind Dubinsky in 12th place.

Rangers veterans Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and Brendan Shanahan both received votes in the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy that honors gentlemanly play. Drury also finished 12th overall in voting for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which goes to the NHL's best defensive forward.

Lundqvist had led the NHL in shutouts with 10 this past season, the most shutouts by a Rangers goaltender since Ed Giacomin's Vezina-winning season of 1970-71.

On Thursday, Lundqvist also learned that he had finished fourth among goaltenders in the postseason All-Star balloting. Fellow Vezina finalists Nabokov (First Team All-Star) and Brodeur (Second Team All-Star) finished in the top two slots. Giguere edged out Lundqvist for third in All-Star voting by eight points.

Gomez and Jaromir Jagr were the only other Rangers to earn All-Star votes this season, as each was given a third-place mention from one of the voting hockey writes.

Several other NHL players received awards on Thursday, including Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who claimed the Hart Trophy as the media's MVP and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the players' MVP choice. Another double winner was Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, who captured both the Selke and Lady Byng.

Datsyuk's Red Wings teammate Nick Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman for the third consecutive year and the sixth time in the past seven seasons. Only Bobby Orr and Doug Harvey had comparable runs of dominance as Norris winners.

The Calder went to Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, who was the No. 1 overall NHL Entry Draft choice just one year ago. The Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year went to Washington's Bruce Boudreau, who took over a losing Capitals team early in the season and guided them to the Southeast Division championship.

The NHL created a special award this year for lifetime achievement in hockey, and the inaugural recipient was Hall of Famer Gordie Howe. The man known as "Mr. Hockey" received an emotional video tribute that featured Wayne Gretzky, who grew up idolizing Howe as a boy.

Outside of Lundqvist's attendance at the event, there was a definite Rangers presence in the form of Adam Graves, who presented the King Clancy Memorial Trophy to Tampa Bay'sVincent Lecavalier and the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy to Jason Blake of Toronto, who battled cancer this past season.

Current Rangers were also featured in video presentations during the show. Dubinsky highlights were played a part of a piece on the outstanding 2007-08 rookie crop, and  Shanahan highlights were shown in a video tribute to the league's veteran stars.

Even Sean Avery's name found its way into the ceremony as part of a joke by host Ron MacLean of Hockey Night in Canada. MacLean pretended to take a cell-phone call from Avery in the middle of the event.

Avery and Shanahan's names also appeared on the Selke Award voting totals, as they were among 17 players who each received one fifth-place vote.

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