VANCOUVER – Centre Henrik Sedin is used to hearing cheers from the crowd, but he received a standing ovation from his teammates in the Vancouver Canucks dressing room Thursday after being named one of the nominees for the NHL’s most valuable player award.
Washington Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby were also announced as finalists for the Hart Trophy.
“It’s a great honour,” Sedin said. “Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys . . . it feels good.”
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said Sedin’s selection reflects on the entire Canucks organization.
“It’s a reflection on his commitment and his hard work,” said Vigneault. “It’s also a reflection on his teammates.
“They were there to help him out and support him. It’s a great honour for him and the whole group.”
Sedin became the first Canuck to win the NHL scoring title when he finished with 112 points (29 goals, 83 assists) this season. He helped lead Vancouver to a 49-28-5 record and its third Northwest Division championship in four years.
Ovechkin, last year’s MVP, tied Crosby for second in scoring with 109 points (50 goals, 59 assists) and was a plus-45 despite missing 10 games.
He guided the Capitals (54-15-13) to the best record in the league, but was bumped from the playoffs following Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final series.
Crosby, the 2007 winner, established a career high with 51 goals, tying him with Steven Stamkos for the league lead. He added 58 assists while guiding Pittsburgh to a 47-27-8 record.
“I don’t really think about the season and I don’t reflect on the season too often,” Crosby said Thursday. “You try to be as consistent as you can. I was able to score a bit more this year, and that was something I was able to improve on and was happy I did.”
Sedin had his best season as a Canuck and finished 41 points ahead of his previous high. He maintained his pace despite twin brother Daniel missing 18 games with a broken foot.
“I said all along I want to get better every year,” he said. “We have been point-a-game players the last couple of years. To think we are going to take a step like this when we are almost 30 years old, I didn’t so think.”
Canucks centre Ryan Kesler has also been nominated for the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward.
The winner will be announced June 23 at the NHL awards night in Las Vegas.
With files from The Associated Press.