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Bobrovsky becomes first Russian to win Vezina

Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 11:57 PM / 2013 NHL Awards
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Bobrovsky becomes first Russian to win Vezina
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky became the first Russian to win the Vezina Trophy on Saturday, beating out defending Vezina winner Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Niemi.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had a simple formula that led to his best season, then on Saturday night to the Vezina Trophy.

"I wanted to win every game I played," Bobrovsky said through a translator after he was named the NHL's best goaltender for 2012-13.

He almost did during a 10-game stretch in March when he played every game for the Blue Jackets and went 8-0-2, and a season-ending nine-game run in April when he was 8-1-0.

Bobrovsky, the first Russian to win the Vezina, went 21-11-6 overall, was second in the League with a .932 save percentage and fifth with a 2.00 goals-against average.

He was given the award Saturday over defending Vezina winner Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks.

Bobrovsky joined the Blue Jackets in a summertime deal with the Philadelphia Flyers.

"When I was traded to Columbus, I didn't think of what people say or what people think," Bobrovsky said. "The most important thing for me was to concentrate [on] 'How can I help this team? What can I do better, how can I prepare myself to make this team even better?' That was my main focus."

The 24-year-old enters this summer as a restricted free agent who reportedly is entertaining offers to return home to play in the Kontinental Hockey League.

"At this moment I would like to enjoy myself winning this prestigious award," Bobrovsky said. "I'm not even thinking about contracts. I'm sure it will all work out itself.

"Right now is the moment to celebrate, and later we will sit down with my agent and think about our next steps."

If he does return to Columbus, he will try to get the Blue Jackets into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in their history. This season, they tied the Minnesota Wild with 55 points in the Western Conference, but did not get the eighth (final) seed because they had two fewer wins (26-24).

Hence Bobrovsky's attempt to try to win every time out.

"My main focus, as I said earlier, was to come there and play every game and concentrate on every single game," he said.

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I watched many times this year the series between the Russians and Canada in 1972, and he was a dominating player there. After I watched the tapes, I respect him a lot more because he turned the series around. He was the guy. In that time, he was the best in the world. It’s a big honor for me to tie him.

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