Saturday, April 2, 2011

Your 2010-11 Vezina Trophy Winner Is...

Pekka Rinne {Photo: Eric Love/Flickr}

This year has been a roller coaster ride for goaltenders.  Some might expect to see the usual Kipper's or Bobby Lou's amongst the favorites for the highly sought after trophy, but in this year's race, neither name pops up.  Instead, three other goalies have risen above the rest this season and have rightfully put their names in place to be selected as the best goalie in the NHL.  So without further adue, here are the runner ups:

2nd runner up: Henrik Lundqvist - New York Rangers - 33-26-5, .923 SV PCT, 2.26 GAA, 11 SO's

Well here is a familiar face to the Vezina race.  For anyone who has been paying attention to the New York Rangers this season (or for the past six seasons), you'd know that Henrik Lundqvist, aka "King Henrik" as they call him in the Big Apple, IS the team.  Since the 2005-06 season, Lundqvist has had 30 or more wins in each of his seasons with the Rangers, and this year is no exception.  Lundqvist has a career high in shutout's, with 11, and just with that number alone, a case could be made for his candidacy for the Vezina.  The month of February was not kind to the Rangers, which saw them lose 8 of 12 games.  March started out much the same as New York dropped their first two contests and pushed them down the standings to 8th overall in the Eastern Conference.  But Lundqvist put the team on his back in the month of March with 3 shutouts and a winning streak of five games.  The Rangers are still in a playoff spot, based solely on the heroics of Henrik Lundqvist.  Without him, the Rangers would be on the outside looking in.

1st runner up: Tim Thomas - Boston Bruins - 33-10-9, .939 SV PCT, 1.98 GAA, 9 SO's

WHOA!  WHOA!  WHOA!  Stop the presses!  How does "The Ageless Wonder" NOT win a Vezina with those kind of numbers?  The answer is simple.  Because Tim Thomas is not the most valuable goalie in the league.  But let me give a rundown of his background.

Tim Thomas came into the season with a chip on his shoulder.  After coming off a Vezina win in 2008-2009 season, Thomas seemed like a lock for the starting job the following year.  However, if we have learned anything in today's NHL, it's that nothing is ever for certain.  Thomas was outplayed by the young Finnish phenom, Tuuka Rask, and ultimately lost his starting spot during the regular season and well into the playoffs.  Many fans were irate to see that Thomas signed a 4 year, 20 million dollar deal at the ripe age of 35.  Beantown was just about to give up on him and his anchor of a contract until he exploded onto the scene for the 2010-2011 season with 7 straight wins in 7 straight starts, all while acquiring 3 shutouts.  Once again, Thomas has put himself in the position where it is his job to lose.  Thanks to Thomas the Bruins have secured a division title this season.  But he still isn't the goalie that is going to win the Vezina.

Vezina Winner: Pekka Rinne - Nashville Predators - 31-21-8, .929 SV PCT, 1.98 GAA, 6 SO's

I know what you're thinking.  How can a goalie who has worse numbers than Tim Thomas even be considered as the Vezina Winner?  Fact of the matter is, while statistical numbers hold some importance, they aren't the best judgements of performance.  Pekka Rinne has always flown under the radar, in regards to being looked at as a top goaltender in the league.  Nashville isn't really talked about in the great scheme of things even though Barry Trotz and company always seem to have a playoff-caliber team on their hands looking to make a push for a Stanley Cup.  Another reason why Pekka Rinne should win the Vezina is that he does not have the supporting cast that Tim Thomas has.  If those statistical guru's really want to look at numbers, let's take a look at these figures, shall we?

Nashville's highest point getter has 48 points, that being Martin Erat of all people.  Boston has four players with more than 48 points (Krejci, Lucic, Bergeron, Horton), and one player with 47 (Mark Recchi, who is about seven times as old as Erat).  Boston is sitting nice and pretty in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with a division title while Nashville is in 6th in the Western Conference and is two points out from not even being in the playoffs.  Also add that Boston is currently fifth in the NHL in goals per game with 2.99, while Nashville is 25th with 2.56.  Furthermore (and this may be the most impressive fact of all), Boston sits second in goals against per game with 2.28.  Where does Nashville place in that respect?  Right underneath Boston with a 2.31 goals against per game.  See why I said Tim Thomas wasn't necessarily most valuable?

Pekka Rinne should be getting a lot more recognition than he has in the past.  He is in the more difficult conference, lacks the quality of players that surround him, and really doesn't have much to work with when it comes to the Predators scoring goals, at will.  Face the facts, ladies and gentlemen.  Pekka Rinne wasn't dealt the better hand.  But he sure as hell is playing like he's got a royal flush.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Elite Prospects - Rumours

The Goalie Guild

Elite Prospects - Confirmed Transfers

Elliotte Friedman - CBC/HNIC

  © Distributed by Blogger Templates. Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP