Dewey defeats Truman
Vote deadline may have cost Khabibulin the MVP awardPosted: Saturday February 02, 2002 8:18 PM
Updated: Saturday February 02, 2002 10:06 PM
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- For the second time in seven years, the NHL apparently was burned in voting for the All-Star Game most valuable player.
The award went to first-time All-Star Eric Daze of the Chicago Blackhawks, who had two goals and an assist for the losing North American team. Evidently, the balloting was conducted before the World All-Stars rallied for five third-period goals and an 8-5 victory.
The consensus in the locker room was that Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin deserved MVP honors after stopping all 20 shots in the final period.
"Me and a couple of other guys, we thought that Nicky was going to get the MVP," said North America center Jeremy Roenick. "I can't remember the last time a goaltender shut out a team in the All-Star Game, especially with the talent we have on this team and the opportunities we had."
"The goaltending was great," North America left wing Paul Kariya added. "I'm surprised one of them didn't get the MVP."
Khabibulin said he never even thought about the MVP trophy or the 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 truck that goes with it.
"Players are playing the whole game and goalies are only playing one period," he noted. "I think it's hard to even think about it."
In 1997 at San Jose, MVP honors went to Mark Recchi of the Montreal Canadiens after he scored a hat trick. But hometown favorite Owen Nolan of the Sharks completed his own hat trick late in the third period by "calling" his shot on a breakaway against goalie Dominik Hasek.
On Friday, Sergei Fedorov suggested that Khabibulin might be Russia's secret weapon at the Salt Lake City Olympics. After Khabibulin stopped all 20 shots in the third period of the All-Star Game, he's not so secret anymore.
"He's going to be awesome," said Roenick, a member of the United States Olympic team. "I said before, put him in front of a top team, there's no telling what can happen. He's so dominating and covers the net so well. ... I just hope he's a little off his game at the Olympics, because if he's on his game with the team they have in front of him, that team can do some damage."
© 2003 SportsTicker Enterprises, LP