Real Hart-breaker

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Miikka Kiprusoff was unquestionably the heart of the Calgary Flames' division-winning season.

But not the Hart of the NHL.

Kiprusoff's quest for the MVP honours came up short when forward Joe Thornton won the Hart Memorial Trophy at last night's NHL awards in Vancouver.

Kiprusoff -- who didn't attend the awards, opting to stay at home in his native Finland -- finished third in the voting done by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. New York Rangers star Jaromir Jagr finished second.

Kiprusoff did collect his share of hardware on the night, though.

He won the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender, voted by the GMs, by a landslide, receiving 25 of the 30 first-place votes.

He also was named to the first all-star team and was was also officially awarded the William M. Jennings Trophy for Calgary's league-best goals-against average.

Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter accepted the awards on behalf of Kiprusoff.

"I talked to Kipper yesterday and asked him what he wanted to say and he said, 'Don't swear and keep it short,' " Sutter said. "He said to make sure I thank his teammates, thank his coaching staff and he also wanted me to make sure I mentioned (San Jose goaltending coach) Warren Strelow, his first coach when he came to North America."

Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf's awards night experience was similar to Kiprusoff on paper.

The standout rookie -- only the third freshman defenceman in league history to score 20 goals -- was named to the all-rookie team but saw Washington Capital's highlight reel scoring star Alexander Ovechkin walk away with the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins was also nominated for the Calder and finished second in the voting.

Phaneuf, who said a couple of days before he figured Ovechkin would win the award, took the news in stride.

"It's definitely great to be mentioned in the same breath as those two guys," he said. "They're two very skilled players that did a great job and are top players in the league already."

As for Kiprusoff, Phaneuf heaped praise on his goaltender.

"He's a huge part of our team and how we did," Phaneuf said. "He's very sound every night, very consistent. Not just in games but in practices he's a very hard-working guy -- it's great to have.

"I can't say enough about how much he helped us last year.

"Miikka had a great year and everybody here would agree he was one of the top players, if not the top player, in the league this year. He played a lot of hockey and did it night in and night out."

Phaneuf also finished eighth overall in the Norris Trophy voting for top defenceman, won by Nicklas Lidstrom.

With the awards handed out, the season is now officially over.

Still, Phaneuf kept up the cloak-and-dagger approach when asked about the knee injury he suffered during the playoff series loss to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

His only response when pressed about it was: "It's fine."

In fact, he wouldn't even divulge which knee was hurt.

"I don't know," he said with a grin. "You have to ask Mo (athletic therapist Morris Boyer) about that one."

TROPHY WINNERS

Last night's winners at the NHL's awards:

VEZINA

Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary.

WILLIAM M. JENNINGS

Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary.

HART

Joe Thornton, Boston-San Jose.

LESTER B. PEARSON

Jaromir Jagr, NYR

CALDER MEMORIAL

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington.

FRANK J. SELKE

Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina.

JACK ADAMS

Lindy Ruff, Buffalo.

JAMES NORRIS

Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit.

LADY BYNG

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit.

BILL MASTERTON

Teemu Selanne, Anaheim.

FRANCIS (KING) CLANCY MEMORIAL

2006 -- Olie Kolzig, Washington.

ART ROSS

Joe Thornton, Boston -San Jose.

ROCKET RICHARD

Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose.


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