LAS VEGAS, NV – Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be leaving Las Vegas as the big winner. And he’ll be taking an armful of silverware for the trophy room with him.
Crosby, 26, won the Hart Trophy (league MVP), Ted Lindsay Award (outstanding player as voted by peers) and Art Ross Trophy (NHL scoring champion) at the 2014 NHL Awards Tuesday night at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. He was also named an NHL First-Team All-Star.
“You need a lot of things to go right, you need to play with good players and stay healthy, too,” Crosby said about his big night. “I’m happy to be able to do that this year.”
It’s the second time in Crosby’s career that he’s pulled off the award trifecta, having won all three trophies in 2007 at just 19 years old. Only nine players in NHL history have accomplished the award hat trick: Mario Lemieux; Crosby; Evgeni Malkin; Jaromir Jagr; Wayne Gretzky; Phil Esposito; Guy Lafleur; Martin St. Louis; and Alex Ovechkin.
“I look back at 19 (years old), and I probably took it for granted a little bit,” Crosby said. “When you win it that young you expect to win it sooner and might think it’s easier than it actually is.”
Crosby beat out Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux to be named the NHL’s MVP by nearly a unanimous vote, receiving 128 first-place votes of 137 ballots cast by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. It’s Crosby’s second career Hart Trophy. The Penguins have boasted seven Hart winners in franchise history (Lemieux, 3; Crosby, 2; Jagr, 1; Malkin, 1).
Crosby led the Penguins to their second consecutive division title after posting a 51-24-7 record for 109 points, despite suffering an NHL-most 529 man-games lost due to injury. The 51 wins and 109 points both mark the second-highest totals in franchise history.
Crosby was a constant force and was the crucial instrument in his team’s success this season while the lineup was regularly shuffled and was often filled with American Hockey League call-ups.
Crosby registered points in 60 of his 80 games played, including 30 multi-point games, and never went pointless for more than two consecutive games. The Penguins went 47-8-5 (.825 percent) when Crosby recorded at least one point and just 3-16-1 (.175 percent) when Crosby was held scoreless.
“Playing a full season and trying to be consistent and obviously our team’s success, with the amount of injuries we had, the way everyone rallied together was a big part of why we were able to continue to move forward,” Crosby said. “A lot of different guys stepped up in the absence of a lot of players. That forced me to play better knowing we had to all come together and find ways to win.”
Crosby won the Ted Lindsay Award for the second straight season and for the third time in his career. His fellow NHL peers voted on the award to give the Penguins organization the 10th in its history (Lemieux, 4; Crosby, 3; Jagr, 2; Malkin, 1). That’s the most of any team in the NHL (Edmonton, 6). In fact, the Penguins have won the last three Ted Lindsay Awards (Malkin, 2012; Crosby, 2013; Crosby, 2014).
“The one selected by the guys you compete against every night, not to take anything away from the writers, but I think seeing those guys and competing against them, it means a lot to get that recognition amongst the guys that you played against,” Crosby said.
Crosby had already won the Art Ross after posting 104 points (36G-68A) in 80 regular-season games – a 17-point lead over second-place finisher Getzlaf. Crosby’s margin of victory is the largest since former Penguin Jaromir Jagr beat Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne by 20 points in 1998-99.
The feat also marked the second time in his career that Crosby won the league’s scoring title, helping the Penguins win the award for the 15th time in the past 26 years (Mario Lemieux, 6; Jagr, 5; Evgeni Malkin, 2; Crosby, 2).
Crosby was also was named a NHL First-Team All-Star center for the third time in his career.
And of course, he still wants to get better.
“I feel like I can create more to be honest,” Crosby said. “There’s still a level I can get to. I feel like before I (suffered the concussion) was the best I ever felt. I’d like to get back to that point.”
--Sam Kasan, Penguins