Jagr and Thornton vie for NHL MVP


NEW YORK (AP) – Jaromir Jagr and Joe Thornton are chasing each other again.

The New York Rangers’ Jagr and San Jose’s Thornton, who went back and forth in the NHL scoring race, are two of the three finalists announced Thursday for the Hart Trophy as league MVP. Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is the third nominee.

Thornton edged Jagr for the scoring title by two points – 125-123. Jagr led for most of the season as he carried New York to its first postseason appearance since 1997.

But Jagr, who dislocated his left shoulder in a Game 1 playoff loss to New Jersey, had just one assist as New York was swept by the Devils. Moments after Jagr’s nomination was announced, the Rangers said the right wing would have shoulder surgery.

Thornton, acquired from Boston on Nov. 30, led the Sharks into the playoffs with 29 goals and 96 assists. He scored 20 goals and set up 72 others in 58 games with the Sharks.

Kiprusoff won 42 games and had a goals-against average of 2.07.

All eight NHL awards, voted on before the start of the playoffs, will be handed out June 22 in Vancouver.

The other nominees include:

• Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh, Alexander Ovechkin of Washington and Dion Phaneuf of Calgary for the Calder Award as top rookie.

• Peter Laviolette of Carolina, Tom Renney of the Rangers and Lindy Ruff of Buffalo for the Adams award as outstanding coach.

• Martin Brodeur of New Jersey, Kiprusoff and Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers for the Vezina Trophy as top goalie.

• Rod Brind’Amour of Carolina, Mike Fisher of Ottawa and Jere Lehtinen of Dallas for the Selke award as top defensive forward.

• Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit Red Wings, Scott Niedermayer of Anaheim and Sergei Zubov of Dallas for the Norris Award as top defenseman.

• Pavel Datsyuk of Detroit, Patrick Marleau of San Jose and Brad Richards of Tampa Bay for the Lady Byng award for sportsmanship

Ovechkin, Thornton and Jagr, who won the MVP award in 1999, also are in the running for the Pearson Award given by fellow players to the most outstanding performer.

AP-ES-05-04-06 1727EDT