Crosby sweeps NHL major awards; Malkin rookie of year in big night
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TORONTO -- Sidney Crosby last night became the youngest Canadian prime minister.
No, not really.
It just seems that the 19-year-old Penguins center is breaking new ground and achieving new heights at every turn.
But that was the prime minister, Stephen Harper, at the NHL awards show presenting Crosby with the Lester B. Pearson Award, which goes to the league's outstanding player, as determined in a vote of players.
That was the first award of the black-tie night at the Elgin Theatre. The last was the Hart Trophy, the most prestigious NHL award. That also went to Crosby, making him the league MVP. The youngest one, of course.
Between those two awards, the Penguins collected more hardware, with forward Evgeni Malkin being named the Calder Trophy winner as Rookie of the Year, Crosby being named to the first-team All-Star team, and Malkin and fellow forward Jordan Staal being named to the All-Rookie team.
The Penguins' Michel Therrien was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, which goes to the coach of the year. It was won by Vancouver's Alain Vigneault.
"It looks like it's a real bright future," Crosby said of the Penguins. "It's a statement to see what we've done in the past year. We've taken some huge strides."
For this one night, it was Crosby who stole the show and furthered the notion that he is the world's greatest hockey player.
"He's going to make this game better for a lot of years like Wayne Gretzky did," proclaimed New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, who finished third in the Hart voting and won the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender.
Crosby, who in his speeches thanked everyone from his teammates and team management to his Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, family and the people of Pittsburgh, was moved by winning the awards.
"It kind of hits you right away," he said.
Crosby, who turns 20 Aug. 7, already was the first teen-ager to win a North American major sports scoring title with 120 points in 2006-07, the youngest NHL player to reach 100 points in consecutive seasons and the youngest to be named an NHL team captain.
He's also now the youngest to win the Hart, the Pearson and to be named to the first team of the NHL postseason All-Stars.
Crosby did not just walk away with all those honors; he dominated the voting, collecting 1,225 points and 91 of 143 first-place votes for the Hart. Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo was second with 801 points and 25 first-place votes. Brodeur had 763 points and 21 first-place votes. The other Pearson finalists were Luongo and center Vincent Lacavalier of Tampa Bay.
Crosby also was the top vote-getter for the All-Star first team, getting 683 points and 130 of 143 first-place votes.
Malkin received 1,357 points, including 120 of 143 first-place Calder votes. Colorado's Paul Stastny was second with 965 votes, and Staal was third with 565.
Crosby was a finalist last year for the Calder, but he was beaten out by Washington left winger Alex Ovechkin. He is the third Penguins player to win the Hart. Hall of Fame center Mario Lemieux won it three times, and winger Jaromir Jagr won it in 1999.
Malkin, 20, was the second overall pick in the 2004 draft and joined the Penguins last summer after a tense separation from his Russian team. Despite that and a language barrier, he led all rookies and was 18th in the NHL with 85 points.
Malkin, who is the second Penguins rookie to win the Calder after Lemieux in 1985, opted not to make the long trip from his home in Russia. Therrien accepted it for him.
"I thought Evgeni Malkin was going to be here. In the last two weeks I left him two messages, one in Russian and one in English," said Therrien, who is French-Canadian. "I guess my Russian and my English are not too good."
It was Therrien's first trip to the awards night.
"For me, it's about being a nominee," said Therrien, who in his first full season with the club guided the Penguins to 105 points, 47 better than a year ago, and to the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
"Being nominated for the Jack Adams Trophy is something you share with everybody from the ownership to the general manager to the players. I don't see it as a trophy for one person."
Vigneault had 134 points, with Buffalo's Lindy Ruff second (126 points) and Therrien third (91).
"I'm surprised," Vigneault said. "I sort of thought Michel, with the major improvement they had, maybe had a better chance."
Other winners of awards not previously determined or announced were the Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) to Rod Brind'Amour of Carolina; the Bill Masterton Trophy (sportsmanship and dedication) to Phil Kessel of Boston; the Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and stellar play) to Pavel Datsyuk of Detroit; the King Clancy Trophy (leadership and humanitarian contribution) to Saku Koivu of Montreal; and the Norris Trophy (top defenseman) to Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit.
Joining Crosby on the first All-Star team were Ovechkin, right winger Dany Heatley of Ottawa, defensemen Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer of Anaheim, and Brodeur.
Joining Malkin and Staal on the All-Rookie team are Stastny, San Jose defensemen Matt Carle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Dallas goaltender Mike Smith.
NOTES -- Therrien said he and general manager Ray Shero have begun talks about a contract extension for the coach and that those talks "are going well." Therrien is entering the final year of his contract. ... Versus, the NHL's cable network in the United States, had to delay airing the awards show until 11 p.m. because CBC, the Canadian network producing the show, had satellite difficulties.
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images
Sidney Crosby poses with the his Hart Memorial Trophy, the Lester B. Pearson Award and the Art Ross Trophy last night at the 2007 NHL Awards Show at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto, Ontario.
Click photo for larger image.
First Published June 14, 2007 11:48 pm