Apr 18, 2013, 1:24 PM EDT
As Brough wrote last week, there is no obvious choice for this year’s Vezina Trophy.
Joe Thornton, though, thinks differently.
The Sharks captain is backing Antti Niemi not just as the best goalie in the NHL — but on the planet.
“You’ve been watching the same as us. He’s been great for a long time,” Thornton told the San Jose Mercury News. “Last night [Tuesday’s 3-2 win over LA] he was great, tonight he was great. Three games ago he was great.
“Every night he gives us a chance to win, and I think he’s the best goalie in the world.”
Jumbo Joe might have a point.
Niemi is enjoying arguably the finest season of his career, leading the NHL in wins (22) while sitting seventh in save percentage (.926) and ninth in GAA (2.12).
Most impressively, he’s done all this as a workhorse, appearing in 39 of San Jose’s 43 games this year.
Only Nashville’s Pekka Rinne (41) has played more games.
The 29-year-old Finn is one of only two goalies with 1,000-plus saves this year (the other is Ryan Miller) and his four shutouts have him one back of league leaders Rinne, Cory Schneider and Mike Smith (all tied with five).
The big question about Niemi’s Vezina candidacy is where he plays.
San Jose often doesn’t drop puck until 10:30 p.m. ET, meaning a lot of voters (in this instance, NHL general managers) don’t get to see him play.
If you don’t think that’s an issue, consider this: Of the last 18 Vezina winners, 17 came from the Eastern Conference. The lone exception was in 2005-06, when Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff won it.
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan says Niemi definitely deserves consideration for this year’s Vezina.
“Nemo deserves to be part of that conversation leaguewide when people begin to talk about potential candidates for those awards,” McLellan said. “His numbers speak for themselves.”
Mar 31, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT
Sportsnet’s Stephen Brunt, not pulling any punches.
Mar 31, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT
He was Florida’s first-round pick (23rd overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Mar 31, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT
Mar 31, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT
This after his team, Rogle, terminated his contract on Monday.
Mar 31, 2015, 12:01 PM EDT
Gave up four goals on 11 shots Sunday versus the Islanders.
Mar 31, 2015, 11:56 AM EDT
Just 2-for-33 over the last 15 games.
Mar 31, 2015, 11:39 AM EDT
Just one win in their last six.
Mar 31, 2015, 11:24 AM EDT
6-foot-5, 225-pounder led Charlottetown in penalty minutes this year, with 124.
Mar 31, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT
He finished tied for third in the country in assists last season.
Mar 31, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT
Los Angeles traded a first-round pick in February to get him.
Mar 31, 2015, 8:52 AM EDT
Could that really be the case this time?
Mar 31, 2015, 8:01 AM EDT
Tuesday’s collection of links.
Mar 31, 2015, 12:48 AM EDT
Feel free to change that to “lose.”
Mar 31, 2015, 12:22 AM EDT
The overall damage is currently unclear.
Mar 30, 2015, 11:44 PM EDT
And how good is life for the Calgary Flames?
Mar 30, 2015, 11:13 PM EDT
Chicago ran Los Angeles out of the rink on Monday.
Mar 30, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT
Just a minor penalty.
Mar 30, 2015, 10:21 PM EDT
Tampa Bay sweeps season series vs. Montreal.
Mar 30, 2015, 9:21 PM EDT
Not exactly fearing the jinx.
Mar 30, 2015, 8:28 PM EDT
He’s a trooper.
- Report: Warrant issued for Deveaux’s arrest following Swedish league attack 23
- How bad are things for the Kings after Monday? 15
- Lightning clinch playoff berth, but did they lose Hedman? 9
- Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane 8
- Tough times in Tampa: Garrison out 3-4 weeks after ‘pretty dirty’ Abdelkader hit 22
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 29
- NHL on NBCSN: Stakes high for Kings, ‘Hawks tonight 21
- Blackhawks’ Sharp: ‘We knew we had to get two points’ 12
- Video: Brian Engblom takes a puck to the head 13
- Flames jump back into third in Pacific, beat Preds 6