Alexander Ovechkin has won his third Hart Trophy, given to the NHL’s most valuable player.
The Washington Capitals right wing beat out Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and John Tavares of the New York Islanders for the award on Saturday night. Ovechkin also won the Hart in 2008 and 2009.
“It was kind of hard, but as everybody knows, I like challenges,” Ovechkin, who was moved to the right wing this season, said in taped remarks. “It was a big challenge for me and the coaching staff, but we make it.”
Ovechkin is the eighth player to win three or more Harts, joining Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Clarke, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz.
The vote was expected to be close after Ovechkin and Crosby tied for fourth in the NHL with 56 points, despite the Penguins center missing 12 games with a broken jaw. And it was, with Ovechkin edging Crosby by just 32 points (1,090-1,058) in voting by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. It was the closest Hart vote since Montreal’s Jose Theodore and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla finished in a virtual tie in 2002.
Crosby did, however, win the Ted Lindsay Award from his fellow NHL Players’ Association members as the league’s best player. The Lightning’s Marty St. Louis, who won his third Lady Byng Award on Friday, also was a finalist for the Lindsay Award.
“I don’t think you play throughout the season with awards in mind, to be honest,” Crosby said. “To be recognized by the players for this one means a lot. The Hart, I was in the mix and to be that close, you’d love to win. … (But) I’m not going to be too upset that I didn’t win.”
In other awards, announced before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, Montreal’s P.K. Subban won his first Norris Trophy, given to the NHL’s top defenseman. Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets won the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s top goaltender. And Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau won the Calder Trophy, given to the NHL’s top rookie.
The Professional Hockey Writer’s Association votes on several NHL Awards, including the Selke Award, Lady Byng and Masterton Trophy, which were announced Friday. Tribune writers Erik Erlendsson and Martin Fennelly are members of the PHWA.
HART TROPHY; Erlendsson – 1. Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), 2. John Tavares (NY Islanders), 3. Alex Ovechkin (Washington), 4. Jonathan Toews (Chicago), 5. Antti Niemi (San Jose); Fennelly – 1. Toews, 2. Tavares, 3. Ovechkin, 4. Bobrovsky, 5. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)
NORRIS TROPHY; Erlendsson – 1. Ryan Suter (Minnesota), 2. Zdeno Chara (Boston), 3. Francois Beauchemin (Anaheim), 4. Duncan Keith (Chicago), 5. Kris Letang (Pittsburgh).; Fennelly – 1. Suter, 2. Chara, 3. P.K. Subban (Montreal), 4. Beauchemin, 5. Letang
CALDER TROPHY; Erlendsson – 1. Brandon Saad (Chicago), 2. Jonas Brodin (Minnesota), 3. Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida), 4. Brendan Gallagher (Montreal), 5. Nail Yakupov (Edmonton); Fennelly – 1. Saad, 2. Cory Conacher (Tampa Bay/Ottawa), 3. Huberdeau, 4. Brodin, 5. Gallagher
NHL ALL STAR TEAM; Erlendsson; Center – Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay), Crosby, Toews; Right Wing – Marty St. Louis (Tampa Bay), Ovechkin, Patrick Kane (Chicago); Left Wing – Andrew Ladd (Winnipeg), Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh), Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit); Defense – Chara, Suter, Keith, Subban, Letang, Beauchemin; Goaltender – Tukka Rask (Boston), Bobrovsky, Niemi; Fennelly; Center – Crosby, Tavares, Toews; Right Wing – Kane, Ovechkin, St. Louis; Left Wing – Matt Moulson (NY Islanders), Kunitz, Zetterberg; Defense – Beauchemin, Chara, Keith, Letang, Subban, Suter; Goaltender – Bobrovsky, Niemi, Rask
ALL ROOKIE TEAM; Erlendsson; Forwards – Saad, Huberdeau, Gallagher; Defense – Justin Schultz (Edmonton), Brodin; Goaltender – Robin Lehner (Ottawa); Fennelly; Forwards – Conacher, Huberdeau, Saad; Defense – Jake Muzzin (Los Angeles), Brodin; Goaltender – Jake Allen (St. Louis)