Lightning's Kucherov wins Hart Trophy

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LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nikita Kucherov gratefully accepted the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award on Wednesday night in recognition of his spectacular 128-point regular season in Tampa Bay.

He might even be able to enjoy the trophies someday, whenever the sting of the Lightning's first-round postseason loss has faded.

Kucherov won the NHL's highest honors Wednesday night, receiving the Hart as the league MVP and the Lindsay Award as the best player according to a vote of his fellow pros.

The Russian right wing also formally picked up the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top scorer at the hockey world's annual Vegas ceremony at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

"It's a huge night for me and my family," said Kucherov, who turned 26 on Monday. "But the main thing is Stanley Cup. We want to make sure we work harder than we thought we did (last season). All these individual (awards), it's obviously nice, but the main thing is Stanley Cup for me."

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Kucherov's Russian teammate, won his first Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie in another bittersweet recognition for the Lightning, who won 62 regular-season games before getting swept by Columbus in the opening round.

Kucherov received 164 of 171 first-place votes in a runaway Hart victory over two-time MVP Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh, who finished second, and 2017 Hart winner Connor McDavid of Edmonton. The voting was no surprise after Kucherov posted the NHL's highest-scoring individual season since 1996.

"When the team plays good, the numbers will obviously be good," Kucherov said. "You just try not to think too much about it. If you think too much, your game can just go away, and bad things can happen. All my thoughts were about winning games for my team, and help the team get more points."

A year after scoring 100 points, Kucherov emerged as perhaps the most impressive scorer in hockey, putting up a career-best 41 goals and 87 assists. Kucherov tied Jaromir Jagr's NHL record for assists by a wing, and he surpassed Alexander Mogilny's single-season record for points by a Russian-born player.

COLLEGE SPORTS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Bellarmine University, a private Catholic college in Louisville, is moving to NCAA Division I and joining the Atlantic Sun Conference.

The move will elevate most of the university's athletic programs to Division I status beginning in the summer of 2020.

Bellarmine president Susan Donovan says the move is part of the university's strategic plan, which includes expanding enrollment and increasing its geographic reach. Donovan says it gives the school's teams "an opportunity to compete against the best rivals in college sports."

The Bellarmine Knights won the Division II basketball national championship in 2011. Beloit Memorial graduate Grace Roegner is a member of Bellarmine's swimming program.

BOXING

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - The International Boxing Association is near bankruptcy, days before a decision to formally exclude the body from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

AIBA executive director Tom Virgets told board members it will be insolvent if International Olympic Committee members derecognize the troubled body next Wednesday.

PRO BASKETBALL

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - There's a second lawsuit in the marketing fight over former Duke star Zion Williamson.

Prime Sports Marketing LLC and company president Gina Ford filed a lawsuit Wednesday in a Florida court, accusing Williamson and the agency now representing him of breach of contract.

It cites numerous claims, including accusing Creative Artists Agency LLC of interfering with Prime Sports' deal with Williamson. It seeks $100 million in in punitive damages against Williamson, CAA and two CAA employees.

Williamson signed with Prime Sports in April before hiring a player agent, but filed a lawsuit last week in North Carolina to terminate that five-year contract after moving to CAA in May.

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