Erik Karlsson, Evgeni Malkin big winners at NHL Awards
Lundqvist captures Vezina
Evgeni Malkin took a quick look around and could hardly believe his eyes.
There sat the Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and Art Ross Trophy — all soon to be inscribed with his name after Malkin completed an impressive hat trick at the NHL's awards show on Wednesday night. The Pittsburgh Penguins centre struggled to describe his emotions before calling it the best day of his life.
"It's a special day to me," said Malkin. "I hope it's not the last one. I try to work every year and I hope to be here again."
There could be no more fitting star of the show on an evening that saw every major award go to a first-time winner.
Malkin has been among the NHL's elite players since entering the league in 2006, but this was his first real twirl in the spotlight. Twice a runner-up for league MVP, Malkin was a runaway champion this time around after a season that saw him hit the 50-goal plateau for the first time and finish with 109 points.
It left the Russian in a reflective mood. He thanked former teammate Sergei Gonchar during an emotional acceptance speech because of the great lengths the veteran defenceman went to early in Malkin's career to help him make the adjustment to life in North America.
"I remember six years before, when I come, it was a different life, you know?" said Malkin. "I [didn't] speak English. First [person] who took care of me, it's Sergei Gonchar — he's a great guy, unbelievable player. It's my best friend here.
"Thanks to him and his family, he always supports me."
Malkin edged New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos for both the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. Neither of those players arrived at the Wynn Las Vegas expecting to knock off the Penguins star.
"I think Malkin deserved it," said Lundqvist. "He was just outstanding this year. Dominated for a long time this year, and personally I was just happy to be nominated."
The Rangers goaltender didn't go home empty-handed. He won his first Vezina Trophy after a season where he posted eight shutouts to help New York claim the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Lundqvist had been nominated on three previous occasions before finally getting his hands on the trophy — a running theme this year. Veteran St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock also won his first Jack Adams Award after previously being a finalist in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Over time, he stopped thinking about ever being labelled the best in his business.
"As you get older, you stop doing things on the promotional side and you just focus on you and the players," said Hitchcock, who led the Blues to a 43-15-11 record after being hired in November. "So I mostly just forgot about it."
A dream season for Erik Karlsson ended in spectacular fashion — with the Ottawa Senators defenceman holding the Norris Trophy.
One day after signing a $45.5-million US, seven-year extension, the 22-year-old beat out Boston's Zdeno Chara and Nashville's Shea Weber for the award in voting by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
Karlsson's breakout season included 78 points — 25 more than any other blue-liner and the second-best total by a defenceman since the lockout.
It was his first nomination for the award.
Karlsson is the youngest winner of the award since Denis Potvin won the first of his three Norris Trophies in 1976. He was also 22.
The moment clearly overwhelmed Karlsson, who gave a short acceptance speech and forgot to thank his family.
"I don't really think I understood how it works and how big it was until I came here," said Karlsson, who forgot to thank his parents during a brief acceptance speech. "And once I sat down and saw that the first prize was mine, I didn't really know what to do. It was a big night."
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfedsson took home the King Clancy Award, given to player who made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.
In other awards:
Jack Adams Award
Senators coach Paul MacLean coudn't make it a triple for the Senators, beaten out by Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues for the Jack Adams Award in voting by the National Hockey League Broadcasters Association.
Hitchcock also beat out John Tortorella of the New York Rangers to earn the honour for the first time in a career that includes 576 NHL victories.
Hitchcock led the Blues to a 43-15-11 record after replacing Davis Payne in early November.
The 61-year-old has been nominated for the Jack Adams Award on three previous occasions.
Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog got the best of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins this time around.
Selected second overall behind Nugent-Hopkins at last year's draft, Landeskog edged him and New Jersey's Adam Henrique to win the Calder Trophy on Wednesday night.
Landeskog and Nugent-Hopkins tied for the rookie scoring lead with 52 points this season — although the Avalanche forward played 20 more games.
However, Landeskog finished with a plus-20 rating while playing more than 18 minutes per game.
Landeskog is the first Swede to be named the NHL's rookie of the year since Daniel Alfredsson in 1995-96.
Lady Byng Trophy
Brian Campbell beat out Edmonton's Jordan Eberle and Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders as the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
Campbell, the Panthers' top blue-liner, played all 82 games during his first season in Florida, but only logged six penalty minutes. It was the second season in a row he was under 10 penalty minutes on the year.
The 33-year-old from Strathroy, Ont., had four goals and 49 assists this season.
He is the first defenceman to win the award since 1954, when Red Kelly of Detroit won for the third time. Kelly would later move to centre and win again with Toronto as a forward in 1960.
Bill Quackenbush of Detroit was the only other defenceman to win the award, in 1948-49.
Bill Masterton Trophy
Montreal left wing Max Pacioretty won for his remarkable comeback from a serious back injury.
Pacioretty broke a vertebra in his back and incurred a concussion on a hit from Boston captain Zdeno Chara on March 8, 2011, knocking him out for the season.
Pacioretty returned to the Canadiens last season, and had 33 goals and 32 assists for his most productive pro season.
The other Masterton Trophy nominees were Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, who returned from off-season back surgery, and Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul, who became an elite NHL scorer after missing a year of hockey with back surgery and a blood infection.
Frank J. Selke Trophy
Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron beat out Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk and St. Louis' David Backes to win the Selke Trophy for the first time.
Bergeron is the first Boston player since Steve Kaspar in 1982 to win the honour.
The 26-year-old from Ancienne-Lorette, Que., had 64 points and was a plus-36 with just 20 penalty minutes, 67 blocked shots and 55 takeaways.
He was on the ice for 66 goals for and just 34 goals against at even strength.
Bergeron also dominated at the face-off circle. He took 34.6 per cent of Boston's faceoffs and won 59.3 per cent of them, including 53.5 per cent while short-handed.
General Manager of the Year
Doug Armstrong of St. Louis won the award, in its third year of existence.
Armstrong beat out Nashville general manager David Poile and Dale Tallon of Florida.
With files from The Associated Press