- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 14, 2006

The game against the Atlanta Thrashers might not be the only chance for Alex Ovechkin to put on a show tonight.

Ovechkin will receive the Calder Trophy in a presentation before the game, and the Washington Capitals’ gregarious second-year star surely won’t be at a loss for words. Each fan at Verizon Center will receive a limited edition coin to commemorate the event.

The 21-year-old Ovechkin won the rookie of the year trophy — named after Frank Calder, NHL president from 1936 until his death in 1943 — after earning 124 of the 129 of the first-place votes cast by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association last season.

Ovechkin also was named to the league’s first all-star team — the first Caps forward to receive that honor. He was just the second rookie in NHL history after Winnipeg’s Teemu Selanne to finish with more than 50 goals (52) and 100 points (106), leading all first-year players in both categories. Ovechkin also led rookies with 21 power-play goals and had three short-handed goals. He also finished with an NHL rookie record 425 shots, the most in the league last season.

In three games this season, Ovechkin has two goals and an assist. He already ranks 41st on the Caps’ all-time list with 54 goals and 52nd all time with 109 points.

Fans who want to pose with the trophy can find it on the arena’s concourse level from the start of first intermission to the start of the third period.

Once the pageantry is over, Ovechkin and his teammates will try to focus on cutting down the number of penalties they take. Minnesota beat the Caps 3-2 on Thursday night when Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Richard Zednik all failed to connect in the shootout. The Wild had 10 power plays and converted two of them, while the Caps had six and scored on one.

“It can be looked at as a game of too many penalties, and that’s certainly in our control,” Caps coach Glen Hanlon said. “For us, that’s the only area of concern.”

Dainius Zubrus scored at even strength and Semin on a power play for Washington in the first period, but Kim Johnsson scored twice on the power play to bring the Wild even. Mikko Koivu shot second for Minnesota in the shootout and beat Brent Johnson. It was one of the few mistakes Johnson made during the game.

“[Koivu] pretty much put me in the corner,” Johnson said. “I thought I had long enough legs to cover, and he obviously found a spot.”

Koivu often takes backhand shots, but in the shootout he reversed direction. Instead of going right, he shifted to the left when he saw Johnson moving in anticipation and put a forehand shot into the cage’s left corner.

Notes — The team also will be passing out magnetic schedules tonight. … The Caps will be collecting canned food items that will be given to the Capital Area Food Bank; donations will be accepted at arena entrances. … Former Caps center Glen Metropolit is with Atlanta after spending some time playing in Europe.


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