The members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and the National Hockey League Players' Association are in agreement -- Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Henrik Sedin were the three best players of the 2009-10 season.
On Thursday, the NHLPA announced the trio as finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the "Most Outstanding Player" in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA.
The same three are finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded "to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team" as selected by the PHWA.
The NHLPA introduced the Ted Lindsay Award last week, and it takes the place of the Lester B. Pearson Award, which was first handed out in 1970-71 and was named in honor of the 14th Prime Minister of Canada (1963-68). The new trophy honors Hockey Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay, a player known for his skill, tenacity and leadership, as well as his role in establishing the original Players' Association.
Ted Lindsay Award
The award will be presented at the 2010 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 23.
Ovechkin won the last two Pearson Awards, and Crosby took the honor in 2006-07.
Sedin, Crosby and Ovechkin finished 1-2-3 in the NHL scoring race, respectively, and Crosby and Ovechkin are two of only three players to have scored at least 50 goals in 2009-10 (Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay being the other).
Crosby appeared in 81 games for the Penguins, totaling 109 points and a career-high 51 goals, which earned him a share of the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy.
Ovechkin played in only 72 games for Washington, but reached 50 goals and 100 points for the third consecutive season and fourth time in five NHL seasons. He finished with 50 and 109, respectively. Should he be selected the Lindsay Award winner, he would join Guy Lafleur and Wayne Gretzky as the only players to win the honor three consecutive seasons.
Sedin appeared in all 82 games for the Canucks and scored a League-high 112 points on 29 goals and 83 assists, all career bests. He set several franchise scoring records in 2009-10.
The NHLPA also launched the 2009-10 Ted Lindsay Award Contest on its Web site, NHLPA.com. Fans are encouraged to select the Ted Lindsay Award recipient just like the players do. A random draw will take place June 24, following the 2010 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, to determine the grand-prize winner, as well as the second- and third-place finishers.
To honor the history of the "Most Outstanding Player" award, an NHLPA Goals & Dreams equipment donation will be made in Lester B. Pearson's name to a Canadian youth hockey organization, which will be selected together with members of the Pearson family. Launched in November 1999, NHLPA Goals & Dreams was created as a way for players to give back to the game they love, and has donated more than $18 million worldwide to grassroots hockey programs.