Repeating Gr8ness

Even though the NHL awards changed venues, the same man remained in the spotlight.

Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin takes a closer look at the Hart Memorial trophy after claiming it for a second year in a row. Earlier Thursday he was awarded the Lester B. Pearson award for the second time as well

Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin takes a closer look at the Hart Memorial trophy after claiming it for a second year in a row. Earlier Thursday he was awarded the Lester B. Pearson award for the second time as well

Even though the NHL awards changed venues, the same man remained in the spotlight.

Alex Ovechkin captured the two most prestigious honours in hockey for the second straight season on Thursday, winning the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the players’ choice for the most outstanding player.

It was only fitting that the league’s glitziest player be the centre of attention during a jazzed-up awards night.

Ovechkin came ready for the occasion, walking the red carpet at the Palms with a Vegas showgirl on each arm. He also boasted of winning US$500 while playing blackjack before the show got started.

“I have chips in my room in the safe,” said Ovechkin. “Losing is not for me.”

He hasn’t done much of that during a splendid NHL career. The Washington Capitals sniper also took home another Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the league with 56 goals.

After accepting the Hart from teammate Sergei Fedorov and Grammy Award-winning singer Michael Buble, Ovechkin stepped to the podium and indicated that he’d happily exchange all the hardware for a championship.

“Next year, Stanley Cup will be ours,” said Ovechkin.

The Washington Capitals superstar was a runaway winner for the Hart, receiving 115 of 133 first-place votes to beat out Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk in an all-Russian group of finalists.

The international flavour prompted award presenter Glenn Anderson to quip that he thought he’d ended up in the wrong place — “down the road at the Russian awards.”

He can’t be blamed for feeling a bit disoriented. The NHL awards show was on the road in Las Vegas and ended up with more of a big-time feel than in years past when it was held in Toronto.

Everyone from singers Chaka Khan and Robin Thicke to film producer Jerry Bruckheimer made appearances on stage at the Pearl Concert Hall along with several former NHL greats. It wasn’t a flawless evening — several presenters stumbled over words and missed cues — but it was a good start for the first of three awards shows to be held in Sin City.

The night featured a parade of Boston Bruins to the podium.

Three members of that organization took home major honours. Zdeno Chara grabbed the Norris Trophy for top defenceman, Tim Thomas took the Vezina Trophy for top goaltender and Claude Julien claimed the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.

The most emotional of them all was Thomas, a 35-year-old journeyman goaltender who was playing in Finland just four years ago. He got a little choked up during his acceptance speech and joked afterwards that he was a “sissy.”

“I never really allowed myself to believe that I might win,” said Thomas. “It seemed like such a far away dream when you look at the names on the Vezina Trophy. I’ve been more worried about getting my name on a roster.”

Even though Datsyuk was a runner-up to Ovechkin for the Hart and Pearson, he managed to win both the Selke (top defensive forward) and Lady Byng (most gentlemanly) trophies for the second straight year.

The Detroit Red Wings centre is arguably the best two-way player in the game right now.

Another big winner was Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason, who took home the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

He recently turned 21 and has been soaking up the Vegas experience.

“Time to celebrate,” said Mason, who finished fourth in Hart Trophy voting.

Among the other awards handed out:

l Nashville Predators forward Steve Sullivan took home the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication.

l Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla won the Messier Leadership Award.

l Ethan Moreau of the Edmonton Oilers won the King Clancy for his charitable work.

l And, Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo was voted fan favourite.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lynne McConnell, a Red Deer single mom who runs a delivery company, is left without a car for her business after her vehicle was stolen twice in about 48 hours. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Masks were made mandatory in any workplace setting across Alberta as the premier introduced sweeping measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Paul Cowley/ Advocate Staff)
Kenney declares state of public health emergency as COVID-19 cases rise

High schools shift to online learning, businesses face new restrictions

Highway 11, from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House, is about to be twinned in a $120-million project announced Friday. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Town of Sylvan Lake likes Highway 11 twinning plans

Province plans to twin Highway 11 to Rocky Mountain House

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) brings the ball up court against Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) during the first half of NBA basketball action in Toronto on January 28, 2020. The Raptors officially annoucned that VanVleet has agreed to a multi-year contract with the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet says contract negotiations were “easy”

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet says contract negotiations were “easy”

FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch waves to the crowd before an MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers in Cincinnati on March 17, 2019. Canadian Premier League team FC Edmonton has hired Koch as head coach and director of football operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, John Minchillo
FC Edmonton names Alan Koch coach of Canadian Premier League club

FC Edmonton names Alan Koch coach of Canadian Premier League club

Time running short for NHL to start next season Jan. 1

Time running short for NHL to start next season Jan. 1

Former Chicago Blackhawk Fred Sasakamoose, one of the first Indigenous pro hockey players, is honoured at the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks game in Edmonton on December 29, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Fred Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL pioneer, dies at age 86 after presumed COVID-19 case

Fred Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL pioneer, dies at age 86 after presumed COVID-19 case

Thanksgiving lessons jettison Pilgrim hats, welcome truth

Thanksgiving lessons jettison Pilgrim hats, welcome truth

Most Read