| Thornton grabs
Cheechoo brings home Richard
6/22/06 - By Mike Lee
wasn't the Stanley Cup, but the Sharks picked up some hardware in Vancouver on
Thursday night. Joe Thornton captured the biggest individual player award in
San Jose history by claiming the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league's
most valuable player. Thornton was named on all 129 ballots and received 67
first-place votes for 1,058 points, beating out Jaromir Jagr of the New York
Rangers, who tallied 48 first-place votes and 974 points.
"I was Wayne
Gretzky's biggest fan and watched him take this home a few times, and then
there's Mark (Messier) and Mario (Lemieux)," Thornton said. "It's very humbling
to be on the same page with them. I'm so proud of my teammates, so glad I have
good people around me. They really helped me do this.
improbable season came full circle with the award, presented at the National
Hockey League Awards Show at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. After
being dealt by the Boston Bruins in late November, Thornton helped kick start
the Sharks and pushed the team to a 4th seed in the NHL playoffs five months
"You look back at my first year and I don't think people
thought I would still be in the League," Thornton said, referencing his
seven-point output in his rookie year. "It certainly hasn't been a smooth
Thornton's 125 point season had already earned him the Art Ross
Trophy, given to the player who leads the League in scoring points at the end
of the regular season. Ironically, Art Ross was the manager and coach of the
Boston Bruins in 1947 when the award was given to the league.
time you get a player of Joe's character, it just brings instant confidence to
the team," said Thornton's linemate Jonathan Cheechoo. "First game, first shift
and he rings one off the post and the guys just got confidence from that."
Jonathan Cheechoo claimed the Maurice Richard Trophy
for leading the league in goals scored with 56. Cheechoo's season was turned
upside down with Thornton's acquisition, which allowed the Sharks winger to
focus on depositing the precision passes his centerman setup time after time
during the regular season.
Cheechoo tallied a Sharks-record 56 goals,
including 11 goals in the final 10 games, and led the NHL in game-winning goals
(11), home-ice goals (31) and divisional goals (29).
finished third in voting for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy given to the player
adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly
conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. Detroit Red Wings
center Pavel Datsyuk was the run-away winner with 41 first place votes on 128
Former Sharks goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff took home the
Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league's best goaltender. Kiprusoff mentioned
that a big part of his success was attributed to Sharks goaltending coach
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