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PITTSBURGH'S CROSBY IS BIG WINNER IN TORONTO

Thursday, 06.14.2007 / 10:35 PM / News
Associated Press
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PITTSBURGH\'S CROSBY IS BIG WINNER IN TORONTO
TORONTO (AP) - Sidney Crosby skated away with the Hart Trophy on Thursday night, becoming the NHL's youngest MVP since Wayne Gretzky.

The vote wasn't even close. The 19-year-old Pittsburgh captain -- who received his trophy from six-time winner Gordie Howe -- got 91 first-place votes and 1,225 points in a poll of Professional Hockey Writers' Association members.

"To get that from him was obviously a huge honor. Everyone knows the history and what he's done for the game," said Crosby, who led the Penguins to a 105-point season, second best in team history, before they were eliminated in the first round by Ottawa.

Gretzky won his first Hart with Edmonton in 1980 and followed it with seven more in a row at the start of an unparalleled 20-year career during which he won the Hart a record nine times. When Gretzky won for the first time, he was five months younger than Crosby, who turns 20 in August.

Two weeks ago to the day, Crosby was made the youngest captain in NHL history. So has this been the best two weeks of his young life?

"I haven't won the Stanley Cup yet so ask me after that," he said. "But this has been a couple of memorable weeks."

The Hart was given out at the end of the awards ceremony, which was supposed to be shown live in the United States on cable channel Versus, but a technical glitch prevented the station from showing the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's live feed. Versus planned to air it later Thursday night.

Crosby began the evening with a trophy, too. Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper gave the Pearson Award, an MVP award voted on by the players' union, to the teen from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.

Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo was second in Hart voting with 25 first-place votes and 801 points. New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur was third with 21 first-place votes and 763 points, though he got to take home the Vezina Trophy for top goalie.

Brodeur was also chosen as the goalie on the all-NHL first team. Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom and Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer were the defensemen and wingers Dany Heatley of Ottawa and Alexander Ovechkin of Washington were forwards along with, yep, Crosby.

"The fans love him," Brodeur said. "Everybody seems to be on his wagon, and that's well deserved. He's going to be like Gretzky in making the NHL a better sport."

Crosby led the NHL with 120 points (36 goals, 84 assists) this season, earning him the Art Ross Trophy and making him the seventh in league history to win the Hart, Pearson and Ross. Vincent Lecavalier's 52 regular-season goals entitled him to collect the Maurice Richard Trophy.

Last season, Crosby came away empty-handed when he lost out on the Calder Trophy to top rookie Ovechkin.

This season, fellow Penguin Evgeni Malkin took home the Calder. The 20-year-old Russian beat out teammate Jordan Staal and Colorado's Paul Stastny.

In other awards, Lidstrom won his fifth Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman, becoming the first five-time winner since Ray Bourque, the Boston star who won a Stanley Cup with Colorado before retiring.

"It feels almost unbelievable," Lidstrom said. "To be tied with him is a great feeling."

Rod Brind'Amour of Carolina won a second consecutive Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward, edging Samuel Pahlsson of the Stanley Cup-winning Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey's Jay Pandolfo.

The 36-year-old Brind'Amour is the first back-to-back Selke winner since Jere Lehtinen of Dallas in 1998-99.

"I like to be thought of more of a two-way player, but hey, I'll definitely take this award. It's an honor," Brind'Amour said. "Besides, it's the only way I'll get on this show."

Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship a second year in a row and Montreal's Saku Koivu won the King Clancy for humanitarian contributions.

Vancouver's Alain Vigneault won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year less than a year after he was hired from the AHL's Manitoba Moose. He coached the Canucks to a franchise-record 49 wins and fifth division title.

Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff, who had won the award last year and led his team to the President's Trophy for the best record in the NHL this year, finished only eight points behind Vigneault (134-126).

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