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Comeback king Lemieux skates to another MVP

Published Oct. 9, 2005

Mario Lemieux, who returned to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins after missing a month for treatment for Hodgkin's disease, received three trophies Thursday night at the NHL's annual awards ceremony.

Lemieux, 27, was named NHL Most Valuable Player, appearing on 49 of the 50 MVP ballots cast by the media. He also was honored as league scoring champion for his 160-point season and received the Bill Masterton Trophy for dedication and sportsmanship.

Now he can turn his attention to important dates this summer. He is getting married June 26, and in July he will check into the hospital for more surgery to fix back trouble that has plagued him the past two years.

"It will be minor surgery to take scar tissue out of there," he said, adding he should be able "to move a little better after that. I'll be ready for training camp."

Lemieux also was MVP in 1988.

"This one means a lot more because of the adversity I went through to come back and fight for the scoring title," he said.

Other honorees included Doug Gilmour of Toronto, as the best defensive forward; Chris Chelios of Chicago, best defenseman; teammate Ed Belfour, best goaltender; and Teemu Selanne of Winnipeg, top rookie. Pat Burns of Toronto was named NHL Coach of the Year. Pierre Turgeon of the Islanders won the Lady Byng Trophy as most gentlemanly player.

Chelios also won the Norris Trophy as best defenseman in 1989. This time, he beat four-time winner Ray Bourque of Boston and Larry Murphy of Pittsburgh, receiving 33 of the 50 votes.

"I'm surprised," Chelios said. "I feel very lucky. Ray Bourque is the best two-way defensemen I've ever seen play the game. I've never even considered myself in the same class as Ray Bourque."

Around the league

Sabres: Goalie Grant Fuhr, who last month speculated that a country club had denied him membership because he is black, has agreed to lead a golf event at the club. Sabres attorney Robert DiVita said Fuhr will serve as honorary chairman of the Grant Fuhr Charity Golf Tournament at Transit Valley Country Club, in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst. Transit Valley's rejection of Fuhr was criticized, and several members _ including some Sabres teammates _ threatened to quit. Transit Valley later apologized and offered to let Fuhr join. Fuhr declined, saying he had joined a country club in Lancaster.

Capitals: The Capital Centre will be renamed the USAir Arena on July 1 under a business agreement announced Thursday. Published reports estimated that Capitals owner Abe Pollin and his Centre Group management company will get up to $1-million a year over the 10-year contract. Pollin said the agreement with USAir was the only way to finance renovations. He recently refinanced the Capital Centre's mortgage to pay for between $8-million and $10-million in improvements. He owns two-thirds of the Landover, Md., facility.

Naslund case: Don Meehan, agent for Swedish star Markus Naslund, is threatening to sue the NHL because its deal with the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation stipulates that a Swedish player must sign an NHL contract by June 30 to be eligible for the league the next fall. Meehan contends that Naslund is a free agent because his contract with Modo of the Swedish Elite League expired April 30, though Pittsburgh, which drafted him in the first round in 1991, still would own the right of first refusal.

NHL awards

Here are the winners announced Thursday at the 1992-93 NHL awards ceremony at the Toronto Convention Centre:

Hart Trophy

(Most valuable)

Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh

Norris Trophy

(Outstanding defenseman)

Chris Chelios, Chicago

Calder Trophy

(Outstanding rookie)

Teemu Selanne, Winnipeg

Vezina Trophy

(Outstanding goaltender)

Ed Belfour, Chicago

Lady Byng Trophy

(Gentlemanly play)

Pierre Turgeon, N.Y. Islanders

Frank J. Selke Trophy

(Outstanding defensive forward)

Doug Gilmour, Toronto

Jack Adams Award

(Outstanding coach)

Pat Burns, Toronto

King Clancy Trophy

(Humanitarian contribution)

Dave Poulin, Boston

Bill Masterton Trophy

(Sportsmanship-dedication)

Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh

Art Ross Trophy

(Scoring leader)

Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh

William M. Jennings Trophy

(Goalies playing 25 or more games for team with fewest goals against)

Ed Belfour, Chicago