Crosby, Lecavalier pick up NHL awards
Sidney Crosby was rewarded Saturday for being the youngest player to lead the NHL in scoring when he was officially presented with the Art Ross Trophy at an awards luncheon in Ottawa.
The 19-year-old from Cole Harbour, N.S., finished with 36 goals and 84 assists for the Pittsburgh Penguins in his sophomore season. His 120 points were six more thanSan Jose's Joe Thornton.
Crosby told Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada, who helped host the presentation, that winning the scoring title wasn't a goal he set at the beginning of the season.
"I don't think it ever is," said Crosby. "You want to contribute and as an offensive player you want to do well. You want to help your team out every night.
"But this is just something that I think comes with hard work. If you worry about it, it's probably not going to come your way. So my focus has always been on winning and helping my team and this is just something that comes along with it."
Wayne Gretzky was younger than Crosby by a few months when he tied with Marcel Dionne with 137 points in the 1979-80 season, but Dionne was given the award due to his higher goal total.
The award presentation came on the heels of Pittsburgh announcing that Crosby would be named team captain, the youngest in league history. Crosby will turn 20 in August.
Lecavalier led the league with 52 goals to win the Maurice Richard Trophy. The 27-year-old is the first francophone to win the award since its inception in 1999.
"It definitely means a lot," Lecavalier said. "Like I said before, Maurice Richard is a legend in Montreal. Even though I didn't really see him play, we still heard stories about him. And I go back to Montreal now and people are very happy about that — they would come up to me in the streets and say how proud they were of me being the first French-Canadian to win that trophy.
Lecavalier credited his linemates, Martin St. Louis and Vaclav Prospal, for helping him achieve the highest goal total of his career so far.
The Lightning star and Crosby were both presented their awards by the Richard's younger brother, Henri, who was part of 11 Stanley Cup teams with the Montreal Canadiens.
Former William M. Jennings Trophy winner Brian Hayward presented this year's award to goaltenders Niklas Backstrom and Manny Fernandez of the Minnesota Wild. The team had a paltry 2.20 goals-against average, the lowest total in the league.
While many teams rely onjust one goaltender, Fernandez said the tandem approach worked great for Minnesota.
"There's a lot of games, not a lot of days off," said Fernandez. "So it's always good that the team can count on two guys so if one guy gets down, the other guy takes over."
While Fernandez's play was not a surprise, the 29-year-old Backstrom emerged as a revelation in his first NHL season, recordingfive shutouts with a 1.97 goals-against average.
"I never would have believed that we, or I, could be here together with Manny," said Backstrom. "I had to fight for a spot on the team and after that, of course, [for] playing time. It's been a great time."
Crosby is also up for the Hart Trophy for most valuable player, to be presented along with several other awards on June 14 at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto (CBC, 8:30 p.m. ET).