|Tim Thomas wins second Vezina Trophy||06.22.11 at 8:53 pm ET|
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was named the 2010-11 recipient of the Vezina trophy, awarded to the league’s top goaltender in the regular season.
Thomas beat Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne for the trophy, winning it for the second time in the last three years. Thomas led the NHL with a .938 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average. His save percentage is the best in a single season since the statistic began being recorded by the league.
Thomas is now the fifth goaltender to win the Vezina multiple times since 1982, when the criteria for the distinction switched from allowing the fewest regular-season goals to being the top regular-season goaltender.
When the regular season began, Thomas was not expected to be the team’s starter. Though he had won the Vezina in 2009, hip issues and a dip in performance saw him lose the starting job to Tuukka Rask down the stretch in the 2009-10 season. Rask started each game of the 2010 postseason as the Bruins were eliminated by the Flyers in the second round.
Thomas had offseason hip surgery, and when Rask allowed four goals in the team’s season-opening 5-2 loss to the Coyotes in Prague, coach Claude Julien gave Thomas the start the next night. Thomas shut out Phoenix in that Oct. 10 contest, and never relinquished the starting job or the league lead in GAA and save percentage.
Thomas is now the first Vezina-winner since 2003 (Martin Brodeur) to win the Stanley Cup in the same season. He is the first goalie since 1975 (Bernie Parent) to win the Vezina, Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy in the same season, though at that time, the criteria for the Vezina was as listed above.
|How far do Vezina winners take their teams in the playoffs?||03.31.11 at 12:03 am ET|
Everyone knows that goaltending plays a major role in the postseason. It isn’t always about who has the best goalie, but who has the hotter goalie.
This season, the Bruins have the best goalie, as Tim Thomas seems to have all but sewn up the Vezina. So, if Thomas is awarded the trophy this summer in Las Vegas, will he receive it having recently won the Stanley Cup? We take a look at how far goaltenders’ teams have gone in the playoffs in their Vezina-winning seasons.
First, here are some quick numbers on Thomas if he is to win the Vezina this year:
– He will become the first Bruins goaltender to win it since some guy named Tim Thomas way back in 2008-09.
– He will become the fifth goalie to win multiple Vezinas since the adoption of its current criteria in 1982 (it had previously been awarded to the goalie who played the majority of the games for whichever team allowed allowed the fewest goals). He would join an elite class of all-time greats, as Dominik Hasek (six), Martin Brodeur (four), Patrick Roy (three) and Ed Belfour (two) have also won the trophy multiple times since then.
– Since 1982, only Thomas and Pete Peeters (1983) have won the Vezina while playing for the Bruins.
– Thomas would become the third Bruins goaltender to win multiple Vezinas, joining Tiny Thompson (four) and Frank Brimsek (two). He would join Thompson as the only Boston goaltenders to win two Vezinas over the span of three seasons. Thompson won it in 1936 and 1938, and also won in 1930 and 1933.
Now here’s a look at how the teams of goalies that won the Vezina recently fared in the playoffs that season:
2010: Ryan Miller — Sabres eliminated in first round
2009: Tim Thomas – Bruins eliminated in second round
2008: Martin Brodeur — Devils eliminated in first round
2007: Martin Brodeur — Devils eliminated in second round
2006: Miikka Kiprusoff — Flames eliminated in first round
2005: Season cancelled due to lockout
2004: Martin Brodeur — Devils eliminated in first round
2003: Martin Brodeur — Devils won Stanley Cup
2002: Jose Theodore — Canadiens eliminated in second round
2001: Dominik Hasek — Sabres eliminated in second round
2000: Olaf Kolzig — Capitals eliminated in first round
Note that only Brodeur in 2003 even led his team past the second round. Since 1988, only two teams with Vezina winners have won the Cup that season. The Bruins are trying to prove they can make it to the Eastern Conference finals after knocking on the door, the past two seasons, so judging by these numbers, they might have to hope that history doesn’t repeat itself.
|There will be plenty of time for Tim Thomas to focus… after the All-Star break||01.27.11 at 4:49 pm ET|
There will be plenty of time for Tim Thomas to focus on what’s at stake in the final 32 games of the regular season and hopefully, long after that. He reminded reporters of that following Wednesday night’s win when asked about the second half of the season that starts following this weekend’s All-Star game.
“Man, we just started the break five minutes ago,” Thomas said. “I’m just going to focus on the break. Otherwise, we don’t get that mental break we’re talking about.”
Fair enough. Thomas has earned the right to reflect on what has been a first half filled with superlatives worthy of a Vezina and Hart trophy winner. Thomas has been that good.
– He came within 11 minutes and 23 seconds of his NHL-leading eighth shutout on Wednesday night against the Panthers.
– He leads the NHL in goals against at 1.81.
– He leads the NHL in save percentage at .945.
– He is tied for second in wins with 24 behind Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller.
– His teammates believe they will win every time he takes the ice.
That last one is the most subjective but also the most important. Thomas has recovered from summer hip surgery to become the backbone of their Bruins team. So, after the 2-1 Wednesday Thomas admitted he’ll take some time to savor the winning feeling heading into the break before gearing up physically and mentally for the final 32.
“I was thinking win, feel the good feeling,” Thomas said. “Then you can really savor the feeling for a couple of days because usually we travel or get ready for another game. So yeah I thought about it.” Read the rest of this entry »