Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Back And Forth Vezina Race

In November, I picked Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins as the Vezina Trophy leader as best goaltender in the NHL. By the end of December, Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks got hot and pulled into the lead. In early February, with Thomas again getting hot and Luongo cooling off, I wrote that Thomas had regained the lead. Now on the first of March, I think Luongo is again the Vezina leader.

Both of these goalies have had outstanding seasons to date. Luongo has a .923 saves percentage and a 2.18 goals against average in 54 games for the Canucks. Thomas has a .925 saves percentage and a 2.38 goals against average in 44 games for the Bruins. Both have been the most valuable players to their teams and both will be the first man to thank when their teams qualify for playoffs. The main difference is that Luongo has played more and thus had more of an impact on his team. I see this as a very close race so far. One which could again reverse if Thomas gets hot or Luongo cools off.

There are other goalies who are not too far back in the Vezina race including Ilya Bryzgalov of the Phoenix Coyotes, Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils and Pascal Leclaire of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Should any of them play phenomenally well down the stretch they could wind up as Vezina winner.

There has been a tight back and forth Vezina race between Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas so far this season. Luongo has recently moved back into the lead. Who wins the award will depend upon who plays the best in their stretch run.

This post is out to lunch, how can you list any of those goalies other than Luongo or Brodeur as potential Vezina candidates? Give your head a shake.
Its really easy. You use actual play on the ice this season to judge goalies for the Vezina as opposed to just their reputation.
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