We all know how important goaltending is. I mean, clearly both the Hawks and Flyers were built on solid play between the pipes that they can depend on, right? Notice the sarcasm?
All joking aside, a great goaltender can hide the flaws of any team. Whether they’re making the big saves that make all of the highlight shows, or they make all 35 saves and refuse to let in a cheap goal, every team in the league would kill to have a goaltender that can steal a game. Forget that, most teams would kill for a goaltender that they could simply depend on.
This year’s Vezina was a two-horse race between Buffalo’s Ryan Miller and Coyotes’ netminder Ilya Bryzgalov. There’s no doubt that Bryzgalov was incredibly important to his team, but it looks like the voters thought Ryan Miller, his performance in the Olympics, and his overall body of work made him the best goaltender in the league. And after checking out his stats, it’s hard to argue with a 41-18-8 record, 2.22 goals against average, and .929 save percentage.
|Name||Total Points||1st Place Votes||Total Votes|
Complete Voting Breakdown
“I’m probably breaking every code known to man for not having Brodeur in my top three, but I don’t care. Miller I’ve lauded enough as it is as I gave him my top MVP vote. My big thing here is rewarding guys who did great while facing a ton of action.”
–Joe Yerdon, Gross Misconduct Hockey
“That’s right, Marty! A) Look at his stats…he’s still the best goalie in the league and B) What did you expect from me?”
–Carlos Figueiredo, Speaking of the Devils
“Miller had better stats than Bryzgalov but Ilya plays in the West where it’s a little more difficult right now. I had to give him the edge for that.
As for fourth and fifth Vokoun gets shelled every night and thrives and Henrik Lundqvist has been covering up the Rangers’ myriad issues for years.”
–Chemmy, Pension Plan Puppets
“How can you not mention Rask for this award? Backstopping the team with the lowest offensive output all year, he managed to have the lowest GAA of any goaltender.
That being said, there is no disputing that Martin Brodeur is a beast of a goaltender, playing almost every game this season.
Of course I have to mention Jaroslav Halak – since we’re including the postseason he most definitely played his way onto this list.”
–Amanda Fortier, View From My Seats
“Miller will win this based on the great first half he had. The second half (after the Olympics) he did tire a bit but luckily so did Bryzgalov and a few other goalies as well. Marty Brodeur will probably get second based on name recognition and the fact New Jersey had hardly a defense to get him thru the night. Nabokov gets in 4th based on the surprisingly good regular season and Vokoun basically because he carried Florida.”
–Chris Wassel, The Hockey Program
“Brodeur might have flubbed the Olympics, but he’s still at the top of the list in terms of games played and production.
Luongo–is the hype finally over?”
–Brian Kennedy, Growing Up Hockey
“So tough to pick a Vezina winner, it seemed like every week this season we were all stunned by someones play.”
–Todd Wyant, Pens Universe
“Yes. I voted for Byzgalov for the Hart and Miller for Vezina. Miller had the best season, but no player was as important for the success of his team as Bryzgalov.”
–Nathan Eide, Hockey Wilderness
“No way the ‘Yotes have the season they had with anyone (including anyone on this list) between the pipes except Bryz. Miller took a hohum vanilla Sabres team and led them to the playoffs. Howard took a M*A*S*H unit to the playoffs and made them the least desirable team to face. Rinne is very undervalued and gave the Blackhawks the only real resistance they have seen in the postseason. Halak, will be making BANK after his playoff performance. Honorable mention to the tag team goaltending of Leighton and Boucher (Emery not so much). Tuukka Milkkcrate Rask deserves mention as an up and coming netminder – but I’m still hating on the Bruins.”
–CJ Shepard, View From My Seats
“Halak gets my #1 for 2 reasons: I’m a huge hypocrite and Miller gets MVP, but not the best goalie. Plus, Halak gets bonus points for the Olympics and playoffs.”
–Andrew Bernier, Blackhawks DL
Tomorrow we conclude the Year End Awards by taking a look at the big one: The Hart Trophy. Will it be one of the usual suspects in Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin? Or will Ryan Miller, Henrik Sedin, or someone else rise up and surprise everyone? We’ll have the results tomorrow!
For a look at the entire schedule of awards as well as outline of the NHL Awards project, you can check out the details here.