St. Louis wins Pearson award

Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning captured the Lester B. Pearson Award today, as voted on by his peers in the NHL Players’ Association.
Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo and Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic were the other finalists for the players’ choice of league MVP.
St. Louis, Sakic, and Luongo will be teammates this autumn with Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey tournament.
Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund captured the prize last year.
St. Louis, fresh off a Stanley Cup championship, picked up his first Art Ross Trophy with 96 points, including 38 goals this season. His plus-35 was tied for first in the NHL and helped lead the Lightning to the Eastern Conference title.
“Besides the Stanley Cup, this is probably the trophy I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life,” he said.
St. Louis also is a finalist for the NHL’s Hart Trophy, along with New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur and Calgary forward Jerome Iginla.
The NHL awards were set for tonight and St. Louis was hoping for the rare triple. The last player to win the Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion, earn a Stanley Cup ring, and get the Hart Memorial Trophy as MVP was Wayne Gretzky in 1987.
The Great One also did it in 1984 and 1985.
“This is a great sport, but it’s not a sport you can do anything one-on-one,” St. Louis said. “The league is too good. You need the help of your teammates and linemates, and I definitely have that in Tampa Bay.’’
Guy Lafleur accomplished the triple in 1977 and 19787. The only others who did it were Bobby Orr (1979), Jean Beliveau (1956), Gordie Howe (1952), Bill Cowley (1941), and Howie Morenz (1931).
Luongo, who also is up for the NHL’s Vezina Award, played in 72 games and set a new single-season save record with 2,303, managing to post seven shutouts, a 2.43 GAA, and .931 save percentage on the lowly Panthers.
He also led Canada to gold at the world hockey championship in Prague.
Sakic, who also won the Pearson in 2000-01, had 33 goals and 54 assists in 81 games this season, finishing second to St. Louis in NHL scoring. But the veteran forward helped pick up the slack while fellow star centre Peter Forsberg was out for most of the season.
The NHLPA has been handing out the Lester B. Pearson Award since the 1970-71 season, when Phil Esposito was the inaugural recipient.
The winner will allocate $20,000 to the hockey programs of their choice through the NHLPA’s “Goals and Dreams” fund, with the other finalists dishing out $10,000 each.