Vezina Candidates Named
The National Hockey League has announced the candidates for the 2009-10 Vezina trophy, which will be handed out in late June in Las Vegas.
Not surprisingly, Ryan Miller, who led the Buffalo Sabres to a Northeast Division championship, is among the candidates. He has a career-high 41 wins (18 losses, 8 overtime losses) in 69 games, posting a .929 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average. He was also named MVP of this year's Olympic Hockey tournament in Vancouver, leading the US team to a silver medal.
Joining him is Ilya Bryzgalov, a first time nominee who has been cited for the Phoenix Coyotes success and re-emergence this season. Leading the Coyotes to their first playoff berth in a long time, Bryzgalov posted 42 wins in 69 games (20 losses, 6 overtime losses), as well as a .920 SVP and a a 2.29 GAA, stats that are staggeringly close to Miller's.
Rounding out the candidates is New Jersey's Martin Brodeur. While the nomination may come as a surprise to some, Brodeur once again led the Devils to a division championship, with 45 wins in an astonishing 77 games for the 37 year old (with 25 losses and 6 overtime losses). Brodeur had a .916 save percentage and a 2.24 GAA, not to mention a league leading 9 shutouts. Brodeur will be going for his 5th Vezina, and it is the 9th time he has been nominated.
Curiously missing from the list is the league's leader in both save percentage AND goals-against average, Tuuka Rask, although he only played 45 games, and Jimmy Howard, who was a key reason for the Detroit Red Wings making the playoffs, and has similar stats to the three candidates above in 63 games.
The NHL will continue revealing nominees throughout the week.