Wayne Gretzky never gets tired of adding to his trophy collection.
TORONTO (AP) _ Wayne Gretzky never gets tired of adding to his trophy collection.
Gretzky, who led the Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup this season, won the Hart Trophy, given to the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, for a record eighth consecutive time at the league’s annual awards ceremony Wednesday night.
″There is no question it feels better this time,″ said the 26-year-old Gretzky, who has won the Hart Trophy in each of his eight NHL seasons. ″It gets tougher to win each year.
″And getting a little bit older, you never know if it can be the last time, so it is a special feeling.″
Gretzky got 49 of the 54 first-place votes. Defenseman Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins and center Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins got two votes each, with Hartford Whalers’ goaltender Mike Liut getting the other.
Liut also was a finalist in the race for the Vezina Trophy, given to the league’s top goaltender, losing to Philadelphia’s Ron Hextall, who earlier won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Gretzky led the league in scoring for the seventh consecutive time with 62 goals and 121 assists for 183 points. It marked the sixth consecutive season he has scored 150-or-more points.
Gretzky also added his fifth Lester B. Pearson Award to his achievements earlier this week. The award is given to the NHL’s outstanding player as selected by members of the league’s player association.
Bourque, who led the Bruins in scoring with 95 points, won the Norris Division as the NHL’s top defenseman.
Bourque, the first Bruin to win the award since Bobby Orr in 1975, beat out Mark Howe of the Philadelphia Flyers and Larry Murphy of the Washington Capitals for the award. He also won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 1980.
Hextall, a rookie led the NHL in minutes played, save percentage and wins while compiling a 3.00 goals-against average.
Edmonton’s Grant Fuhr and Liut also were finalists for the Vezina, which was determined by a vote of the league’s general managers.
Hextall lost out on a third award when Los Angeles Kings’ forward Luc Robataille won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie. Robataille finished his first NHL season with 45 goals and 84 points. He beat out Hextall and teammate Jimmy Carson, who finished with 37 goals and 79 points.
Robataille said he thought the award would go to Hextall.
″I thought he would win it. Everybody was saying that,″ he said. ″I remember going to training camp, just wanting to make the team.″
Hextall was not disappointed at not winning the Calder Trophy.
″The Vezina means I am the best at my position, and that’s more satisfying,″ said Hextall.
Calgary forward Joe Mullen won the Lady Byng Trophy, an award given to the player who best combines skillful and gentlemanly play. Mullen, a native of New York City, had 47 goals and 14 penalty minutes. He beat out a pair of former winners, Gretzky and Boston’s Rick Middleton.
Dave Poulin of the Flyers won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward.
Poulin, who beat out Guy Carbonneau of the Montreal Canadiens and Bobby Gould of the Washington Capitals, remembered playing in Sweden, ruling out ever playing in the NHL.
″I gave up on the NHL,″ he said. ″I never really thought I had a chance.″
Poulin also said the exposure he received in the Rendez-Vous 87 series last February between the NHL and the Soviet national team played a major role in his award. Poulin got the winning goal in the NHL’s 4-3 victory in the first game of the two-game series.
Poulin also contributed offensively, scoring 25 goals and adding 45 assists for 70 points.
Jacques Demers, who had a rags-to-riches year in his first season with the Detroit Red Wings, won the Adams Trophy as the NHL’s best coach.
Under Demers, who as coach of the St. Louis Blues was runner-up to Glen Sather of the Edmonton Oilers last year, the Red Wings made it to the NHL semifinals a season after they were the worst team in the league.
The voting by the Professional Hockey Broadcasters’ Association for the Adams Trophy is conducted before the beginning of the playoffs.
Others considered were Jack Evans, who guided the Hartford Whalers to the Adams Division regular-season crown, and Dan Maloney of Winnipeg.
In his first season with Detroit, Demers led the Red Wings to a 34-36-10 record and 78 points, nearly doubling their 40-point finish in 1985-86.
Detroit lost to the Stanley Cup champion Oilers in the NHL semifinals.