BOSTON – For the second time in three seasons, Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas has been named a finalist for the NHL’s Vezina Trophy.
|Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas speaks to reporters in the locker room at TD Garden in Boston Friday, April 22, 2011. Thomas had 34 saves in the Bruins's overtime victory in NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens. Game 5 of the series is scheduled for Saturday in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
“Very happy to hear that, obviously. After last year, wasn’t quite sure if I’d ever hear that again. And so obviously very happy,” Thomas said upon learning of his status as a finalist for the award.
The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually “to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position.” The other finalists for the award are Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne.
This season, Thomas broke the NHL record for single-season save percentage with a mark of .938, besting the previous record of .937 set by Dominik Hasek in the 1998-99 season (save percentage was first introduced to the NHL statistics package in the 1982-83 season). Thomas had a record of 35-11-9 in 57 games this season, and had a GAA of 2.00.
Thomas also set a career high with nine shutouts this season. He was the winning goalie for Team Lidstrom at the 2011 NHL All Star Game, and he became the first goaltender to win three straight All Star Games. This marks his second Vezina nomination and he previously won the award following the 2008-09 season.
Thomas took a backseat to Tuukka Rask during the 2009-10 campaign, but after off-season hip surgery prior to the start of 2010-11, he regained the starting role to put on a history-making performance.
“Tim is very deserving of that nomination, and obviously I am a big fan of what he has done this year. And if you ask me he certainly deserves it and I’m sure that would get some arguments from other places,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said of his No. 1 goaltender.
“I’m certainly going to support Tim for the season he’s had. Especially what he went through last year and to bounce back this year and have that kind of season, he is certainly very deserving. So I wish him all the luck and hope that he wins what he deserves.”
Thomas’ fellow Bruins acknowledged his recognition and firmly agreed with the league’s nomination. Along with Zdeno Chara and Shawn Thornton, defenseman, during Friday's media availability Andrew Ference was especially happy to hear of Thomas’ nomination.
“He put on a show. He has all year,” said Ference.
“Everybody in this room knows we owe him a lot. And I told the guys when we were talking about that jacket we hand out to the MVP every game, he would hog it the whole time if we didn’t try to pass it around the room.
“He has been such a key to our success,” he said.
The winner of the award will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards at the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas.