Regardless of the outcome of this year’s Stanley Cup championship, one player will be hoisting trophies after the last puck of the season has dropped. Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic has already grabbed the Presidents’ Trophy as captain of the team with the best regular-season record, clinched with a hat trick by Sakic. He’s a strong contender to receive the Hart Trophy on June 15 as the NHL’s MVP for his leadership and scintillating play, netting over 100 total points, including 50-plus goals.

AW: What are your thoughts on winning trophies?
I’ve always been low-key on anything. But obviously, if you happen to win an individual award, it would be a great accomplishment and an honor.

AW: More and more athletes these days are getting their contracts torn up and salaries raised before the term is even up. You chose to wait until your contract was up.
I don’t find it a big deal, and don’t think it should ever be an issue. There are too many issues about contracts in sports, and it drives everybody nuts. It’s simple. You have your deal, and you don’t worry about it until your deal is over. And then you deal with things.

AW: Your boyhood hero, Wayne Gretzky, is now back in hockey as a co-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes. What are your memories of playing against him?
[Laughs] I looked up for a face-off and there he was opposite me. He won the face-off, got free, and scored on me!