Washington Capitols Alex Ovechkin signs autographs for a Sydney Crosby fan as he walks the red carpet at the National Hockey Legue awards in Las Vegas Thursday, June 18 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
LAS VEGAS - NHL players believe that Alex Ovechkin was the best among them yet again.
They gave the Russian superstar the Lester B. Pearson Award for the second straight season. Ovechkin edged compatriots Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin - the same three players that were nominated for the Hart Trophy.
Ovechkin finished the season with 56 goals - 10 more than anyone else. His 110 points were second behind Malkin.
He's the first repeat winner of the Pearson Award since Jaromir Jagr won in 1999 and 2000.
Malkin is fresh off a career season that saw him take the scoring title with 113 points (35-78). He also led the playoffs in scoring and was voted the Conn Smythe Trophy winner after helping the Penguins to the Stanley Cup last week.
It was a memorable year for Datsyuk as well.
He finished with a career-best 32 goals and matched his career high with 97 points while sporting a plus-34 rating. In addition to the Hart and Pearson, he's also nominated for the Selke and Lady Byng trophies.
That's almost as much hardware as Ovechkin has won early in his fine career.
The Washington Capitals sniper has more than 50 goals and 100 points in three of his first four seasons.