Ovechkin Wins MVP from Players, Theodore Nabs Masterton

June 23, 2010 | Ed Frankovic

Ovechkin Players MVP

Well the NHL players got it correctly but the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America (PHWA) blew it when it comes to naming the NHL’s Most Valuable Player Award, but what do you expect from a group that has several biased, anti-Ovechkin voters from the Great White North? Alexander Ovechkin was named the NHL Most Valuable Player by his peers (i.e, fellow players) and took home the Ted Lindsay Award (formerly known as the Lestor B. Pearson Trophy) on Wednesday night in Las Vegas while Henrik Sedin grabbed the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP (voted on by the media). Nothing against Sedin or the other candidate, Sidney Crosby, but the Great #8 is the best player in the game and the guys who play it night in and night out certainly recognized that over a bunch of guys who struggle on a daily basis to keep from spilling coffee or soda on their laptops or getting donut crumbs jammed in their keyboards.

For Ovechkin, this was his 3rd straight MVP award from the players joining Wayne Gretzky (1982-85) and Guy Lafleur (1976-78) as the only others to achieve this milestone. Alexander the Great led the NHL in points per game (1.51) and goals per game (0.69). He finished tied for second in the NHL in points (109) and was one shy of the league lead in goals (50) despite missing 10 games. He led all NHL forwards and was second in the league in plus/minus rating (+45), trailing only teammate Jeff Schultz. The Great #8 led the league in shots (368) and even-strength goals (37). He had the fourth-best single-season point total in Capitals history and the franchise’s 10th 50-goal season. His plus/minus rating ranks second in Capitals history. Named captain Jan. 5, Ovechkin led the Capitals to a 30-4-7 record from that point on as Washington captured its first Presidents’ Trophy for the best record in the league.

Ovechkin, Green Make 1st All-Star Team

While Caps defenseman Mike Green was denied the Norris Trophy (best NHL defenseman), which went to Chicago’s Duncan Keith, he and Ovechkin did make the NHL’s First All-Star Team, voted on by the PHWA.  The selections are the fifth in a row for Ovechkin and second for Green, making them the first teammates to repeat on the first team since Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey of the Edmonton Oilers in 1985 and ’86. Ovechkin is the first player in league history to be named to the NHL First All-Star Team in each of his first five seasons in the league. 

Theodore Wins Masterton

Washington Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore received the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on Wednesday night, an award presented annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. The local chapters of the PHWA nominated a player from each team and voted on the winner. Theodore is the first Capital to receive the award.

Theodore and his wife Stephanie Cloutier dealt with personal tragedy last August when their two-month old son, Chace, passed away from respiratory complications related to a premature birth. In November, Theodore started Saves for Kids, a fundraising program that benefits the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s National Medical Center in Northwest, D.C., where Chace was treated and where Theodore and Cloutier spent most of their time during their son’s 54-day life. Theodore pledged money for each save, win and shutout he made during the season, and his donations were also matched by F.H. Furr Plumbing Heating Air Conditioning Inc., a Lennox Premier Dealer. The Capitals fan base and Washington Capitals Charities also pledged their support, and Theodore presented a check worth $35,000 to Children’s National Medical Center on Friday, May 7.

On the ice Theodore played 47 games and had his best season since winning the Hart and Vezina trophies in 2001-02. He posted a 30-7-7 record, 2.81 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in helping lead Washington to the club’s first Presidents’ Trophy. His winning percentage (.761) was the highest of any goaltender in franchise history. He finished the season 20-0-3 with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in games after Jan. 13, setting a team record for most decisions (23) without a regulation loss.

 A 14-year professional, Theodore ranks seventh among active goalies in games played (548) and in wins (245). He is one of seven goaltenders with 30-plus wins in each of the last two seasons.

Theodore, who has been pulled in favor of Semyon Varlamov early in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the last two seasons, is an unrestricted free agent and all indications are that the Capitals will not bring him back for 2010-11, likely opting to go with Varlamov and two-time AHL Calder Cup winning goalie, Michal Neuvirth, as their goaltending tandem.