Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: vezina trophy
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson kicked off his last regular-season slate of Hockey World columns with individual awards picks, and his pick for the Vezina Trophy is a surprising one:
Vezina Trophy (top goalie)
1. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado.
2. Tuukka Rask, Boston
3. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay
Had off-ice issues this year which weighed on him but very consistent work. Rask is best Finnish goalie right now, and they’ve got a full stable of good ones around the NHL. Bishop, nursing sore wrist as playoffs loom, is a six-foot-seven giant and a workhorse.
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An American-born goaltender from Michigan has a career year, leads his team to the Northeast Division title, wins the Vezina Trophy, injures his hip early the following season and proceeds to stink up the joint. Sound familiar?
As you probably deduced, I’m referring to Tim Thomas.
While the numbers have been eye-popping for the Boston Bruins goaltender in his comeback season, the Sabres have a pretty talented goalie of their own who finds himself in a similar situation to where Thomas was a year ago.
And now, after a nightmarish performance by Ryan Miller Sunday against the New York Islanders, things here in Buffalo have gotten a little crazy. It’s amazing what one awful game in a 12-4-2 stretch will do to people.
A local radio station ran a poll on its website yesterday asking Sabres fans whether or not new ownership should move forward with Miller as their goaltender. Pundits are enlightening us with the notion that non-elites like Antti Niemi, Marc-Andre Fleury and Chris Osgood winning Stanley Cups somehow translates to Miller being expendable.
While it certainly can’t be said with a straight face that Ryan Miller doesn’t get enough respect, there are some pundits out there who have declared, almost as a foregone conclusion, that the 30-year old Sabres franchise netminder will still be solid but won’t be able to duplicate his Vezina-worthy magic of 2009-10.
Whether because of changes in the Sabres defensive corps, having played too many games, or simply from the difficulty of maintaining such a high level of play in an ultra-competitive league where the difference in the talent level of goaltenders has shrunk significantly, discussions by many about Miller’s prospects for the upcoming season are accompanied by buzzwords and catch phrases like “dropoff” and “coming back down to earth”.
From Lynn Zinser at the New York Times,
In late December, the Rangers were in a midseason swoon and Lundqvist, their normally rock-solid goalie, was dealing with his father’s operation for a brain aneurysm in Sweden. The stress showed in his play.
“It was definitely a tough time,” Lundqvist said Monday after the N.H.L. named him one of three Vezina finalists. “You don’t really think when it happens that it affects you, but afterwards, when he started to recover, I thought back about those weeks after it happened and it was a really tough time. I think it affected me a little bit.”
While his father, Peter, has gone through a slow recovery, Lundqvist has bounced back to form on the ice. He finished the season strong, with 37 victories and a league-high 10 shutouts.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
In one corner is the mainstay, the ol’ reliable in New Jersey Devils’ dynamo Martin Brodeur. Last season, Brodeur captured his third Vezina Trophy in the last four seasons after setting an NHL record with 48 victories. This season he won 44 games.
In another corner, we have the element of surprise, the unlikely candidate in San Jose Sharks veteran Evgeni Nabokov. He has never been a Vezina finalist and had previously never played in more than 67 games in one season. Nabokov played in 77 this time around.
And finally, we have the rising star, the current and future “King” of New York in Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. This is Lundqvist’s third-straight season as a Vezina finalist, meaning he’s been in the final three in each of his three NHL seasons.