Alex Ovechkin Wins Hart Trophy to Repeat as NHL MVP and Also Takes Pearson, Richard Trophies
Friday, June 19, 2009; 12:15 AM
LAS VEGAS, June 18 -- Moments before walking down the red carpet for the NHL Awards Show, Alex Ovechkin jokingly bragged about how he had won $500 playing blackjack.
A couple of hours later, the Washington Capitals' winger left The Palms Resort & Casino with something money can't buy and luck can't help deliver: a second straight Hart Memorial Trophy as hockey's most valuable player.
"It's pretty important when people and players give you this [recognition]. I don't want to stop," Ovechkin said. "I want to be the best again next year."
After Ovechkin placed the Hart Trophy on the podium, he twice reached out to touch it before pulling his hands back, an homage to his controversial "hot stick" celebration after notching his 50th goal in Tampa Bay.
"Just having fun," said Ovechkin, who entered the casino on the red carpet flanked by two showgirls.
Ovechkin's teammate, Mike Green came up short in his bid to win the Norris Trophy, beat out by the game's best all-around defenseman, Boston's Zdeno Chara.
Ovechkin is the first repeat MVP in more than a decade and only the 11th player to win the Hart multiple times. He earned 115 of a possible 133 first place votes, 103 more than the league's leading scorer, Evgeni Malkin of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Green, meantime, was edged by Chara, 68 first-place votes to 50.
Ovechkin also captured his second straight Lester B. Pearson Award, the most outstanding player as voted by his peers. The 23-year-old said he appreciates the Pearson a smidge more because of who votes for it. The Professional Hockey Writers' Association vote for the Hart.
"The Pearson, it's a players' award," Ovechkin, the first to win the Pearson back-to-back since Jaromir Jagr in 1999-2000. "They know how you play, who you are."
Ovechkin dedicated the Pearson to his grandfather, Nikolay Kabayev, who died in November. Ovechkin missed two games in October when he traveled to Moscow to visit Kabayev when he fell gravely ill.
"This year was a really hard year for my family," said Ovechkin, who also was presented with his second Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy for leading the league in goals with 56. "This is award, I give it to him and all my family."
For the fourth consecutive season, Ovechkin also was voted a First Team All-Star. Green joined him on the first team, giving the Capitals multiple players on the first team for the first time. Ovechkin is the second player in league history to earn first-team honors in each of his first four seasons and the first since Canadiens Hall of Famer Bill Durnan was named from 1944-47.