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Thornton And Marleau Among NHL Award Finalists

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
The National Hockey League announced today that Sharks center Joe Thornton is among three finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player To His Team) and the Lester B. Pearson Award, presented to the Most Outstanding Player as voted by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players' Association.  Team captain Patrick Marleau is among three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded for Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Conduct as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
            Other candidates for the Hart Memorial Trophy are:
                                    Jaromir Jagr, New York Rangers
                                    Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames
            Other candidates for the Lester B. Pearson Trophy are:
                                    Jaromir Jagr, New York Ragers
                                    Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
            Other candidates for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy are:
                                    Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
                                    Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning
The winners will be announced Thursday, June 22 at the 2006 NHL Awards Television Special in Vancouver, B.C.
Thornton and Cheechoo have already won two of the NHL’s primary post-season awards.  With 125 points (29 goals, 96 assists), Thornton earned the Art Ross Trophy, presented to the League’s leading scorer.  After being acquired by the Sharks on Nov. 30, he posted 92 points (2nd in franchise history) and 72 assists (a franchise record) in helping the Sharks to a 36-15-7 record in his 58 games with the team.  With 96 assists, the 16th most in NHL history, Thornton became just the 11th player to surpass 90 assists in a single season.  His 125 points make him the most-prolific scorer in the history of NHL by a player who played for two teams in one season.   
The 25-year-old Cheechoo ended the 2005-06 regular season with a franchise-record 56 goals, posting 11 goals in the final ten games to lead the NHL and earn the Maurice “Rocket’ Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer.  He also set a Sharks single-season record with 93 points and team marks for most PP goals (24), game-winning goals (11), shots (317) and hat tricks (5).
Marleau posted a career-high 86 points (34 goals, 52 assists) while only accumulating 26 penalty minutes with no major penalties. He finished 19th overall in the NHL in scoring and third on the Sharks.  Serving his first full season as team captain, the 26-year old Marleau played in his 600th NHL game on Jan. 14 at Montreal.  Had there not been a work stoppage during the 2004-05 season, Marleau would have become the youngest player in NHL history to accomplish that feat.
He became the fourth San Jose Sharks player to win a major NHL award, along with Joe Thornton (Art Ross, 2006), Evgeni Nabokov (Calder Memorial Trophy, 2001) and Tony Granato (Masterton Trophy, 1997). 
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