Hockey

Ovechkin receives hero's welcome in Washington

One day after the native of Russia claimed the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most outstanding player, he received the key to the city Friday in Washington from Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

The accolades keep piling up for Washington Captials forward Alexander Ovechkin.

One day after the native of Russia claimed the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most outstanding player, he received the key to the city Friday in Washington from Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

"Today is a big day," said Ovechkin, standing on the front steps of city hall. "I have a key for the city. And I'm the president this day in the city, so everybody have fun — and no speed limit!"

Ovechkin, 22, was honoured as the city's first MVP in a major North American sport since quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins accomplished the feat in 1983.

On display at the event were the Hart and Pearson trophies, as well as the Rocket Richard Trophy for his NHL-best 65 goals and the Art Ross Trophy for his league-high 112 points.

Ovechkin is the first NHL player to win all four awards in the same season and the collection made for an impressive display of hardware before the hundreds of fans chanting "M-V-P!"

"Who said Washington wasn't a hockey town?" Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said.

Many of the fans also bellowed a loud chant of "Bruuuuuuce" when head coach Bruce Boudreau was mentioned. Boudreau claimed the Jack Adams Award as the league's top coach at the NHL Awards in Toronto on Thursday night, the reward for turning the last-place Capitals into a playoff team on the rise.

"Last night, we gained a lot of respect around the league," Leonsis said. "What it says is that the team has come of age, and the expectations for us are higher. We want to trade all the individual glory for a Stanley Cup."

Ovechkin met with Fenty and the District of Columbia council before moving on to a more casual gathering at a Leonsis-hosted exclusive party at a downtown restaurant.

With files from the Associated Press