The Finalists for the Vezina Award were announced today. There were a number of fine performances turned in this season by goal tenders, but it had to be narrowed down to three.
And the nominees are....*drum roll*
Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes
Most think that Bryzy plays behind the worst team of the three finalists. The Coyotes have no real superstars and most nights Bryzy carries the team to the winner's circle. Let's check his numbers.
Shut Outs: 8
Let's put those numbers in perspective, according to NHL.com:
The native of Togliatti, Russia was second in the League in shutouts (8), third in wins (42), sixth in goals-against average (2.29), seventh in starts (69), eighth in shots faced (1,961) and saves (1,805), and tied for ninth in save percentage (.920). Several of those figures are career-bests, including a shutout streak of 137:46, which included parts of three games from Oct. 12-15.Bryzy is only the second Phoenix(or Winnipeg) goalie to be named as a Vezina finalist. He also set a franchise record this season for wins and tied the franchise records for shut-outs.
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
This comes as no shock. Marty is one of the best goalies to ever guard the crease. He has won four previous Vezinas and has been a finalist SIX other times. Let's see how Tres Bon has looked this year:
Shut Outs: 9
Though his SV% isn't exactly Vezina impressive, he led the league in wins and shutouts and his GAA was third in the NHL. From NHL.com:
Brodeur led all NHL goalies in games played (77), starts (76), wins (45) and shutouts (9), was third in goals-against average (2.24), and seventh in shots against (2,004) and saves (1,836). Brodeur's win total was three behind his NHL record of 48 (2006-07).And hey, he must be fantastic, my Moose had this to say about him:
"In my mind, he's the best to ever play the game," Atlanta goaltender Johan Hedberg said. "He's a proven winner. It's always a fun challenge to play against him. It's so impressive. Being that consistent for so many years playing that many games a season it's just extremely impressive. He has all the ingredients of just being the best. He's always in there; he very seldom misses a game and is just night in and night out consistent."Marty continues his quest for the Hall of Fame and seems to break records every time he hits the ice. Of course his critics would start the usual "playing in the Devils system" tirades.
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Ryan Miller has had a hell of a year. He was the American Golden Boy during the Olympics, helping Team USA bring home the silver medal in a year when they were predicted to finish in 5th place. As well as becoming a household name after the games, Ryan statistically had the best season in his career.
Shut Outs: 5
Miller's seventh NHL season was his finest hour. He established a single-season franchise with 41 victories, and won at least 30 games for the fifth straight season. Miller posted the second longest shutout streak of his career, going 148:31 without permitting a goal from Nov. 28 to Dec. 3. His superb netminding led Buffalo to its first division title and postseason appearance since 2006-07Another important stat, Ryan was fourth in the league in shots faced, so he manages to be awesome while facing a ton of shots.
So who am I pulling for? I'm actually going for Ryan Miller. I rarely get to pull for him for anything and I think he deserves it. Don't be greedy Marty, let someone else win!
Take the poll to the right and discuss your choices in the comments!