LAS VEGAS (AP) — After Patrick Kane added three more awards to his overflowing trophy case, he took a moment to appreciate his new place in American hockey history.READ MORE: Tax Refund Delays Grow As Filing Deadline Gets Closer
The Chicago Blackhawks’ NHL scoring champion won the Hart Trophy on Wednesday night, becoming the first player born and trained in the U.S. to be named the league’s most valuable player.
Kane also claimed the Ted Lindsay Award after his fellow players recognized him as the game’s most outstanding player at the league’s annual postseason awards show in Las Vegas. He even accepted the Art Ross Trophy in recognition of leading the league with his 106-point season — another first for an American player.
“I definitely feel very fortunate,” Kane said. “It’s amazing to me that there’s no American that’s ever won the scoring title or the MVP award, because there’s been so many great American players. Guys like (Chris) Chelios, Brian Leetch, Mike Modano, Joe Mullen, Jeremy Roenick. Guys that have had great careers. I don’t know if I was lucky or fortunate to be in that position, but it’s pretty amazing to see some American record you hold now. It’s pretty exciting.”
Kane began his remarkable season under the cloud of a sexual assault allegation made against him in his native Buffalo area last summer. The Erie County District Attorney’s office eventually declined to move forward on the case in November, saying it was rife with reasonable doubt.
After running away with the scoring title in a season that included a 26-game scoring streak, Kane was the runaway winner of the Hart, getting 121 of the 150 first-place votes. Sidney Crosby finished second with 11 first-place votes, while Dallas’ Jamie Benn was third.
At just 27 years old, Kane is already a hockey great after winning three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, who lost in the first round of the postseason this year.
“It’s been quite a ride, obviously,” said Kane, the Blackhawks’ first Hart winner since Stan Mikita in 1968. “A lot of great moments along the way. I feel like at 27 right now, hopefully there’s some more in the cards.”
After several years in which repeat winners dominated the league honors, every major trophy went to a first-time winner at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Braden Holtby of Washington finished fourth in the Hart voting, but won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie after tying Martin Brodeur’s league record with 48 victories.
“I’m not a big guy on awards or records, but the wins record, we got to share as a team,” Holtby said. “The commitment it took to make that possible was definitely cool to be a part of.”
His coach, Barry Trotz, won the Jack Adams Award for the first time in 17 seasons behind an NHL bench, recognizing the Capitals’ league-best regular season.READ MORE: Panic-Buying Causes Temporary Shutdown Of Several Bay Area Gas Stations
Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward and the Lady Byng Trophy for his gentlemanly play. His teammate, Drew Doughty, took home his first Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman.
Kane’s linemate in Chicago, Artemi Panarin, won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie after scoring 77 points in 80 games. The 24-year-old Russian beat out No. 1 draft pick Connor McDavid of Edmonton, whose outstanding debut was shortened by a broken collarbone.
Kane and Panarin credited each other for their statistical success, along with linemate Artem Anisimov.
“It goes without saying how our chemistry developed over the year and how much fun we had playing with each other,” Kane said. “Hopefully we can be together for a long, long time and build off that experience.”
In perhaps the most intriguing race, Doughty beat out Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and San Jose’s Brent Burns for the Norris, which went to Karlsson for the second time last year. The lively debate forced voters to decide between pure offensive production and analytical superiority.
While Doughty didn’t match his competitors’ offensive production, voters recognized his two-way prowess for the defense-minded Kings. Doughty led all defensemen in Corsi percentage at 58.9, and he scored 51 points with a plus-24 rating while playing enormous minutes on the Kings’ depleted blue line.
Karlsson scored a whopping 82 points for the Senators, the most by an NHL defenseman in 20 years. Burns nearly matched Karlsson with 75 points, including 27 goals for the Western Conference champion Sharks.
“The two guys I was up against, having a point a game as a defenseman in the NHL and then putting up 27 goals as a defenseman in the NHL, that’s just ridiculous,” Doughty said. “I can almost guarantee I’ll never do that. … I kind of love that competition. I don’t know about (Karlsson), but I’d be OK if this went on for the rest of our careers.”
Jaromir Jagr, the Florida Panthers’ 44-year-old leading scorer, was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He didn’t attend the ceremony while tending to his ailing father.
Pittsburgh’s Jim Rutherford was named the NHL’s general manager of the year after building the Stanley Cup champions. Nashville’s Shea Weber, Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and Calgary’s Mark Giordano all received awards recognizing leadership and community service.
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