While it’s not exactly Philadelphia news, the Vezina trophy is attracting a lot of interest from Philadelphia fans.
Philadelphia’s increased investment in the award is because of Finalist Sergei Bobrovsky; a goalie that the whole city wishes we could have back.
The Vezina trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s goaltender who is “adjudged to be the best at this position”. The decision is made by the general managers at the end of the season. The trophy was named after goalie Georges Vezina who played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1910 up until 1925. Vezina’s career stopped when he collapsed during a game in 1925 and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He died later in 1926.
In 1927 the award became official and the NHL accepted the trophy.
The Vezina race has been a popular NHL media point and this year is no exception.
The favorite candidate for the trophy this year seems to be Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. After being a strong backup here in Philadelphia, Bob was traded over to Columbus where he is credited with an amazing season for the Blue Jackets that fell just short of a playoff run. Despite not making the playoffs this season it’s predicted that, behind Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets will be a cup contending team.
This is Bobrovsky’s first time as a Vezina finalist. He finsihed his season with a 21-11-6 regular season record, with a 2.00 GAA which is 6th best GAA in the league. He was also second in save percentage with a .932
SanJose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, another first time finalist, carried his team to the playoffs and straight through the first round. The Sharks swept the Canucks in the quarterfinals round with Niemi in net for all four games. Niemi saw more ice time than any other goalie (2,580 minutes, 46 seconds). He ranked third in shots faced (1,220) and saves (1,127) and ended the season with a 2.16 GAA and a .924 save percentage
Both Niemi and Bobrovsky have 4 shutouts.
The first time finalists are up against last year’s winner Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist tied for the NHL lead in wins with a regular season record of 24-16-3 and had a 2.05 goals-against average which was 7th best in league and a .926 save percentage 5th best during the regular season. This is Lundqvist’s 5th time as a Vezina finalist.
The winner has already been decided on and will be announced during the Stanley Cup Final.