LAS VEGAS (AP) — Carey Price came away from the NHL Awards show with a hat trick.
The Montreal Canadiens’ record-setting goalie claimed the Hart Trophy, the Vezina Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award at the NHL’s annual postseason bash Wednesday night.
Price also shared the already-announced Jennings Trophy with Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, and his hefty haul of hardware capped one of the greatest regular seasons for a goalie in NHL history.
“I’m just truly grateful,” Price said. “I’m immeasurably blessed to do what I do.”
Price led the league with 44 victories, a 1.96 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage, becoming the first goalie to take all three top spots since Chicago’s Ed Belfour in 1991. The butterfly-style star from rural British Columbia led the Canadiens to the Atlantic Division title and the league’s second-best record before falling in the second round of the playoffs to Tampa Bay.
Less than 16 months after he backstopped Canada to an Olympic gold medal in Sochi, Price became the first goalie to win the Hart Trophy since Montreal’s Jose Theodore in 2002. Price is the first goalie to win the Hart, Vezina and Lindsay awards since Dominik Hasek in 1998.
Price cited the Lindsay Award as his favorite because he was chosen by his fellow players as the NHL’s best.
“No offense to everybody else, but I’m very humbled by that, because I compete against these guys,” Price said. “We go to war out there, and for them to vote for me is really special.”
Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, a three-time league MVP, and New York Islanders captain John Tavares also were nominated for the Hart, but were no match for Price’s historic season with the NHL’s most storied franchise.
He broke the Montreal record for single-season victories set by Jacques Plante, who won 42 games in 1956 and 1962, and matched by Ken Dryden in 1976. Price’s save percentage was the third best in a season since 1977, and he was second in the league with nine shutouts.
“I’ve got to really thank the organization for not giving up on me,” said Price, who endured three rocky seasons early in his career before finding his NHL groove in 2012. “They saw I had the personality to get through it. It’s just unbelievable, the reception that I get in Montreal.”
Coming up with three acceptance speeches was the toughest part of the evening for Price — but after winning the Vezina, Price sent a message of encouragement to fellow First Nations youth. Price’s mother is a former Ulkatcho First Nations chief.
“It can be difficult when you’re in an isolated community that might not see much hope,” Price said. “I just wanted to let them know that anything is possible. I came from a place that is nowhere close to anywhere. I just took advantage of my opportunities and worked harder than everybody else and wanted it more.”
Price dominated the festivities as the NHL’s top players and executives gathered at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for hockey’s postseason ritual, accepting trophies and participating in comedic moments of varying awkwardness alongside host Rob Riggle.
Boston’s Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward for the third time in four years, while Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman for the second time in four years.
Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames won the Jack Adams Award as the top coach, while Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman was chosen general manager of the year. Both won their awards for the first time.
“It’s nice to see the team progressing,” said Yzerman, whose Lightning won the Eastern Conference and lost the Stanley Cup Final in six games. “I wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.”
Florida’s Aaron Ekblad edged Ottawa’s Mark Stone and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau for the Calder Trophy, becoming the youngest defenseman to win the award since Bobby Orr in 1967. A shoeless Jiri Hudler won the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL’s most sportsmanlike player after the Calgary forward committed just 14 minutes in penalties during his 76-point season.
Hudler was a hit at the awards show when he took the stage after taking off his uncomfortable new shoes. He didn’t even travel to Vegas with a suit, going shopping once he got to town.
“I know Wayne Gretzky won (the Lady Byng) five times,” Hudler said. “I know it started in 1925. And I know I’m the first Czech player to win it, and that’s all I care about.”
The NHL also handed out its awards recognizing humanitarian work and charitable endeavors. Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg was awarded the King Clancy Trophy, while Chicago captain Jonathan Toews took home the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.
“It’s something you don’t feel worthy of,” said Toews, the three-time Stanley Cup champion. “It’s an incredible honor. You have so many people you want to express thanks to, and it’s pretty special moment to be chosen by (Messier).”
San Jose’s Brent Burns was selected for the NHL Foundation Player Award, while Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk won the Bill Masterton Trophy from the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Several statistical awards already were won at the conclusion of the regular season, but the winners picked up their trophies in Vegas.
Dallas’ Jamie Benn roared from behind to win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s scoring champion, while Ovechkin got a league-best 53 goals to win his fifth Richard Trophy. The Jennings Trophy was split between Price and Crawford after the Canadiens and Blackhawks each allowed a league-low 189 goals.
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