Pronger nets hat trick with Hart, Norris and All-Star honors at NHL awards

Posted: Friday, June 16, 2000

TORONTO (AP) -- On a big night for the St. Louis Blues, their captain won the feature award by the smallest of margins.

Chris Pronger was a triple winner Thursday night, taking home NHL awards as the most valuable player and top defenseman and making the All-Star team.

The St. Louis Blues star is the first defenseman since Bobby Orr in 1972 to win the Hart Memorial Trophy. He got the MVP honors by just one point in the closest balloting in the award's history, beating out scoring champion Jaromir Jagr and top goal scorer Pavel Bure.

Pronger had 396 points, Jagr 395 in balloting by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

''Is that what is was?'' Pronger asked. ''I guess it was pretty close. Who do I got to thank?''

One man he could thank was Joel Quenneville, who walked off with the Adams Trophy as the league's top coach.

''He's one of those guys who can control a game,'' said Quenneville. ''He had an unbelievable year. He was dominating.''

Pronger, at 25 the youngest winner of the Norris in since 1992, succeeded teammate Al MacInnis. They are the only two Blues to win it.

''A special thanks to Al MacInnis, who helped guide my career when it looked like it was going nowhere,'' said Pronger, who led the league in plus-minus raings at plus-52.

Pittsburgh's Jagr, and Detroit's Steve Yzerman joined Pronger on the 2000 All-Star team, along with Detroit winger Brendan Shanahan and Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, and Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig.

Kolzig was selected as the NHL's best goaltender, winning the Vezina Trophy. But Roman Turek of St. Louis was the Jennings Trophy winner for lowest goals-against average.

Jagr, who scored 92 points, won his second straight Lester B. Pearson award from the NHL Players' Association as the top player.

Yzerman, whose transformation from sharpshooter to complete player helped the Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998, won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward. Yzerman twice scored more than 60 goals in a season, and five times had more than 50, but Detroit didn't win until he committed equal effort to both ends of the ice.

Scott Gomez, who led all first-year players in points and helped the New Jersey Devils win the Stanley Cup, won the Calder Trophy as the outstanding rookie.

Gomez, 20, the first NHL player from Alaska, had 70 points (19 goals, 51 assists). He was New Jersey's second choice, 27th overall, in the 1998 draft and moved up from juniors to a regular spot with the Devils this season.

''It was an amazing script,'' said Gomez. ''I couldn't have imagined it any better in my mind.''

Gomez was given his award by actor Christopher Reeve, who is paralyzed, and Reeve's 8-year-old son.

''It's an honor to be up here with Mr. Reeve and his son, he shows what courage is about,'' said Gomez.

Gomez is the second Devil to win the Calder. Goaltender Martin Brodeur won it in 1994.

Americans have won the Calder three of the last four years. Colorado's Chris Drury got it last year and Bryan Berard got it in 1997, when he was with the New York Islanders.

The Adams Trophy, given by the NHL Broadcaster's Association, went to Quenneville after he led the Blues to a league-best 51-20-11-1 record.

The Blues also allowed a league-low 165 goals.

Defenseman Ken Daneyko, who has appeared in every one of New Jersey's postseason games, took the Masterton Trophy for perserverance and dedication to hockey. Daneyko has overcome an alchohol problem to appear in 1,000 NHL games.

''Hockey has been the one constant in my life. That's what I'm most proud of,'' he said.

''I never expected this, but it certainly caps off a nice year after winning the Stanley Cup.''

Toronto goalie Curtis Joseph was given the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in honor of his humanitarian work. Joseph started a program called Cujo's Kids that helps critically ill children at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Bure received the Maurice Richard Trophy for scoring the most goals, 58.

St. Louis forward Pavol Demitra got the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play.

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