Nikita Kucherov won the Hart Trophy, the Ted Lindsay Award, and the Art Ross Trophy at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas, but he went home empty-handed at last night’s ESPYS – an award show started by ESPN to celebrate athletic achievement.
That’s because Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin won the ESPY award for Best NHL Player, defeating Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon, and Connor McDavid. It’s the second year in a row Ovechkin has won in that category.
Ovechkin led the NHL in goals last season (51) winning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer for an NHL-record eighth time.
ESPY winners have been determined by online voting since 2005.
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Ovechkin was not in attendance to receive the award as he’s training and spending time with his family in Italy.
After helping the Capitals win the Stanley Cup for the first time, Ovechkin became the first NHL player ever to win Best Male Athlete at last year’s award show.
The St. Louis Blues were also honored on the night, winning Best Comeback after going from worst to first to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
As “Gloria” played on the loudspeakers, O’Reilly accepted the award along with teammates Jordan Binnington, Joel Edmundson, Robby Fabbri, Pat Maroon, Colton Parayko, Zach Sanford, and Robert Thomas.
“Before I speak I gotta take my tooth out so I don’t spit on any of the celebs in the front row,” O’Reilly joked before literally taking out his tooth. “Okay, I think we’re good now,” flashing a wide gap-toothed grin.
“Big thanks to the fans of St. Louis,” he continued. “There was some dark times this year and they stuck with us. They kept buying tickets and supporting us and eventually we got things going and turned it around.
“Someone who I really want to mention here, which is kind of our story — I think I can speak for all of us — she’s a true inspiration and that’s Laila Anderson,” O’Reilly said. “She’s been through so much these last few years and her spirit and the way she . . . just keeps fighting, she’s an example for us. And she taught us so much. We got a chance to share the Stanley Cup with her. But we just want to say this is another thing we get to add to it and share with her. Thank you all. It’s been a heck of a ride. On behalf of the St. Louis Blues, thanks, everyone. Thank you.”
The other NHL team up for an award, the Columbus Blue Jackets, were nominated for Best Upset for their first-round sweep of the best-in-the-NHL Tampa Bay Lightning. But just like they did in the second round, the Blue Jackets lost to boxer Andy Ruiz, who defeated Anthony Joshua for the heavyweight championship. The other nominees included the Old Dominion football team defeating Virginia Tech and Naomi Osaka defeating Serena Williams at the US Open.
More from the Capitals:
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was the recipient of the Best NHL Player award at the 2019 ESPYS last night, defeating Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. Ovechkin became a repeat winner after he received the honor last year. During the 2018-19 season, Ovechkin also received the Best Male Athlete award, becoming the first NHL player to win the award since the inaugural ESPYs in 1993.
Following a 51-goal season, Ovechkin won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer for an NHL-record eighth time. Ovechkin passed Bobby Hull for the most times a single player has led the NHL in goals in a season. It marked Ovechkin’s eighth career 50 goal season, and he became the third player in NHL history to record eight or more 50-goal seasons (Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky: 9). Ovechkin, who was 33 years, 201 days old on the final day of the season, became the fifth player in NHL history to record multiple 50-goal seasons after his 30th birthday, joining Phil Esposito (4), Hull (2), Marcel Dionne (2) and Mario Lemieux (2).
Since entering the NHL at the beginning of the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals (658), power-play goals (247), power-play points (464), game-winning goals (107), shots (5,234) and ranks second in points (1,211). Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals since 1994-95 and shots since the 1993-94 season, despite beginning his NHL career in 2005. Additionally, Ovechkin is the franchise leader in goals (658), points (1,211), power-play goals (247), game-winning goals (107), overtime goals (22), shots (5,234) and multi-goal games (132).
The ESPYs gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The ESPYs honor ESPN’s commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Jim Valvano at the inaugural ESPYs in 1993.
Congratulations to @ovi8 and the @StLouisBlues on their respective honours at last night's #ESPYS! pic.twitter.com/81ZkQqCGHU
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 11, 2019
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