LAS VEGAS – The NHL held its annual end-of-season awards tonight handing out a pair of hat tricks. The first triple went to Russia’s Yevgeni Malkin who picked up the three most prestigious awards. He had won the Art Ross Trophy by virtue of leading the league in scoring during the regular season, and tonight he added the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award to his showcase.
The other hat trick saw three Swedes collect honours for individual performance. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers won the Vezina Trophy, which has been awarded annually since the 1926-27 season. He beat out Pekka Rinne of Nashville and Cup-winning goalie and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick of the L.A. Kings, taking the award for the first time.
Then, 19-year-old Gabriel Landeskog, who came from Sweden to play junior in the OHL, won the Calder Trophy over Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Edmonton and Adam Henrique of New Jersey. He became the first Swede to win since 1996 when Daniel Alfredsson claimed the rookie of the year honours. He and Nugent-Hopkins led all rookies with 52 points each.
Finally, in one of the biggest surprises of the evening, Ottawa defenceman Erik Karlsson won the Norris Trophy over more senior opponents Shea Weber of Nashville and Zdeno Chara of Boston. Weber is set to become a free agent on July 1 and Chara just led Slovakia to a silver medal at the World Championship in Helsinki.
Brian Campbell won the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play. Incredibly, he is the first defenceman to win since Red Kelly of Detroit in 1954. Kelly also won in 1961, with Toronto, but he was a centreman that year. Campbell had only three minor penalties all year even though he played all 82 games and was among the leaders in ice time for Florida this season.
Longtime Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson also won the King Clancy Award for his leadership and contributions to the community.
Montreal’s Max Pacioretty won the Bill Masteron Trophy for dedication and perseverance. His career looked to be in jeopardy after a dangerous hit delivered by Zdeno Chara on March 8, 2011, but after convalescing over the summer “MaxPac” returned to the Montreal lineup and was a key player for the team in 2011-12.
Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, the only player ever to win senior World Championship gold before World Junior gold, with Canada, was given the Frank Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward.
Despite being only 22 years old, Tampa Bay’s Steve Stamkos won the Rocket Richard Trophy for the second time (he tied with Sidney Crosby in 2009-10) as the leading goalscorer in the regular season. He was the only player this season to score 60 goals. Malkin was a distant second in scoring with 50.
The William Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goalie(s) who allowed the fewest goals in the regular season, went to the tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott of St. Louis. They conceded just 165 goals over 82 games and combined for an incredible 15 shutouts.
As a result of their fine season, Blues’ incoming coach Ken Hitchcock received the most votes for coach of the year. Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Trophy after leading the team to a record 49 wins. It was his first victory in this department after coming close on three occasions with Dallas. Hitchcock also coached Canada to a silver medal at the 2008 World Championship.
The NHL also announced its First All-Star Team at the Awards. Malkin was the centre while Pittsburgh teammate James Neal was named as the right winger. Lundqvist was the goalie while Karlsson and Weber were the defencemen. New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk was the left winger.