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Niemi, Bobrovsky, Lundqvist are Vezina finalists

May 8, 2013, 10:27 AM EDT

Henrik Lundqvist Getty Images

The NHL has announced that the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky, and Sharks’ Antti Niemi are the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, which goes to “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.”

This is the first time in the history of the league that all of the nominees were both born and trained in Europe.

Lundqvist won the award last season and didn’t suffer a significant drop-off, posting a 2.05 GAA and .926 save percentage in 43 starts. He also finished the campaign with a 24-16-3 record and was a key part of the Rangers late-season push for a postseason spot.

Niemi matched Lundqvist in starts and led all goaltenders in total playing time. His 2.16 GAA and .924 save percentage are the least impressive of the three nominees, but Niemi was arguably the most consistent, putting up solid numbers even during the Sharks’ lengthy slumps.

Bobrovsky is the other extreme. He arguably got off to the worst start of the finalists, but caught fire in the second half of the season and nearly led the Blue Jackets to the playoffs. He finished the season with a 2.00 GAA and .932 save percentage in 38 games. It’s worth adding that he has the potential to become the first Russian-born winner of this award.

Ottawa’s Craig Anderson led the league in GAA (1.69) and save percentage (.941), but likely fell short of a nomination because an ankle injury limited him to just 24 games. Boston’s Tuukka Rask also fell short, but still had a great a 2.00 GAA and .929 save percentage in 36 games.

  1. ironyisadeadscene - May 8, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Bob all the way

  2. 05flynt - May 8, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Bob didn’t make the playoffs. He is out. Niemi deserves it over king h.

    • jl9830 - May 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      ….seriously?

    • jb8383 - May 8, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      The playoffs don’t matter for the Vezina. It’s based on the regular season.

      • tyler4richardson - May 8, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        Bobrovsky is my prediction too. But I would like to add that a non playoff goalie has never won the Vezina. Playoffs matter for the Vezina.

      • jb8383 - May 8, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        It’s supposed to be based on the regular season. Orelse why wouldn’t they just crown the Stanley Cup winning goalie the winner. Last year why didn’t Quick win it over Lundqvist?

      • ironyisadeadscene - May 8, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        I think this is the chicken before the egg argument. Is making the playoffs a factor in winning the Vezina or is it that most goaltenders nominated for the Vezina are normally on teams that make the playoffs?

        I believe the latter

      • tyler4richardson - May 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        I understand that it’s an award given out based on regular season numbers and not playoff numbers but clearly being a goalie who makes the playoffs will give you a greater chance of winning it. That’s all my point was. Your playoff numbers don’t matter but at least making the playoffs matters and you can’t really argue that based on the history of there being zero non playoff Vezina winners.

      • mstrcool - May 8, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        Last time I checked getting to the playoffs was part of the regular season, bobs out it should be Niemi vs Lundqvist

      • jb8383 - May 8, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        @tyler4richardson – I agree with your point. I meant that the playoff #s don’t count, but yes I see the point that a goalie with better reg. season #s would be more likely to be in the playoffs.

      • rabidbillsfan - May 8, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        2 Points, that’s all that seperated these 3 teams. Bob was the bright spot on ateam that was at the bottom of the leauge in scoring. Sure, King H did the same for the Rangers, but they are loaded with back-end talent, even minus Staal. Same can be said for Niemi in SJ. However, this is where Bob gets my vote (if I had one)… New city, coach, system and teammates, on a perrenially bad team and he back stops them to the wrong side of a tie-breaker for the playoffs in arguably the toughest division in hockey (this season). He started in 6 less games, and doubled up King H in SO, and was one short of Niemi. Perosnally, I’d rather of seen Craig Anderson in there over Henrik, even though he was injured, though he was more deserving, but politics do come into play at some point in every discussion. I’d be fine with it going to Niemi, but if it is truely based on the best ‘Tender, then Bob should walk away with it. Should get a vote for MVP as well, but I doubt that will happen.

  3. nikolainyr - May 8, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    As much as I love Lundqvist, Bobrovsky outplayed him on a lesser team in the tougher conference.
    Give the award to Goalie Bob, and get a mop ready for for all the Flyer fan tears.

  4. sjsharks66 - May 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Niemi by a landslide. If bob just was able to make it to the first round, even if they would have lost. He would have won.

  5. drewsylvania - May 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Two of these guys are no more deserving than Rask.

  6. tfaltin - May 8, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Rask snub. Probably because Khudobin got as many starts as he did. Too bad Anderson got injured. Bryz oversight?

    • pastabelly - May 8, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      Khudobin did not get as many starts as Tuukka. That’s just wrong (34 vs 14).

      Tuukka probably didn’t make the list because his stats are inflated as the result of the (boring) defensive style employed by Claude Julien.

      • tfaltin - May 8, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        That’s not what I meant. I meant because Khudobin got as many starts as he did, Rask didn’t get as many wins. I understand the confusion, but I was not saying Khudobin and Rask split starts.

      • tfaltin - May 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        As for the rest of the comment: Do the Rangers, Jackets and Sharks not prioritize defense? None of these teams are the Islanders or Maple Leafs, for example.

  7. jpelle82 - May 8, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    wish it was a full season for anderson’s sake, he was clearly the best this year. gotta go to bob this year then

  8. bronxsanman - May 8, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Stop all the nonsense.Just give the KING his crown.Best goalie in the league.Thats not a farce,it’s a fact.

    • 19to77 - May 8, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      … except for the part where Sergei Bobrovsky outperformed him this season with a much less impressive defense in front of him. But don’t let little things like a higher save percentage or lower GAA factor into it. That would be silly.

  9. dropthepuckeh - May 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Rask should be on the list as he is comparable in stats and has been consistent throughout the season. Maybe if he focused more on his looks and his “band” he could garner some more attention from the league. I’m guessing he would prefer to get his name on the Cup again instead though. These awards are a joke.

  10. johnstone17 - May 8, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    As a Rangers fan, I calling it for Bobrovsky. Kind of funny that he might win the Vezina after being moved by the goaltending rich Flyers!

  11. kicksave1980 - May 8, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Three great goalies, and as some have mentioned, there are always going to be other deserving candidates who get snubbed. I think Bobrovsky should win it this year. Yeah, he didn’t make the playoffs, but what he was able to do behind that Columbus team was amazing. Without him back there, they would have been nowhere close to the 8th spot. I’m also willing to bet that the majority of people overlooking Bobrovsky didn’t watch a single Columbus game this year. Fedor Tyutin is a top pair defenseman there, and anywhere else he’s a 3-6.

  12. jonkchar - May 8, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    if Bobrovsky doesn’t win, we riot

  13. rockthered1286 - May 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    So Henrik doesn’t finish top 5 in any category with the exception of wins (which could be attributed to the 2nd most starts in net this year) and he is a finalist? 2 SO’s, 6th in sv%, 6th in GAA… there are definitely more qualified candidates out there. But then again… it’s Henrik and he is in NY so what more can we expect…

    • anthonykornheiser - May 8, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      Rockthered1286,Right, and the guys in front of him have played in about half of those games. I wonder how their numbers would turn out if they played that many games and logged as many mins.
      anderson with 20 games, emery with 20 games and crawford with 13 less games isn’t a good argument for you. even 13 less games in a 48 game season is more than 25% of the yr.
      but to make the picture a little more clear for you,
      Lundqvist has over 1,100 saves, thats a good amount. compared to 637 for anderson, 450 for emery, 769 for crawford, and rask not even hitting 1,000.
      Where is your argument really? You’re right though, ray emery is 100% more qualified than henrik lundqvist.
      Let’s not let your hate for the rangers and lundqvist get in the way of your argument, especially while your team is playing them in the playoffs. What is your deal with lundqvist anyway? You have NUMEROUS posts in regards to him and how holtby is better blah blah blah. Get a grip.

      • rockthered1286 - May 8, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        The fact that the guys in front of him have played less games is not going to effect sv % or GAA. The fact that you can even attempt to use a stat like games played to argue that point is assanine. The ONLY thing that you can argue there is that with more games played than others, Henrik has a lesser backup than other goalies, whose teams feel more comfortable with their backups coming in and winning. Perfect example in Chicago with Emery and Crawford. 2 goalies who are both great goalies, but because they have confidence in both, they had the ability to work both. And in reference to your saves logged, it’s a moot point. Let’s look at it this way, and compare him to a guy like Jimmy Howard who isn’t in the running for the Vezina:
        HL- 1190 SA in 43 gms = 27.6 shots per gm
        Howard (DET)- 1129 SA in 42 gms = 26.9 shots per gm

        Now look at shutouts:
        HL- 2 SO
        Howard- 5 SO

        Sv %
        HL- .926
        Howard- .923

        Wins
        HL- 24
        Howard- 23

        So what really sets these 2 apart? Henrik has a sv % of .003 better, while facing a half a shot more a game and 1 more win and played one more game? But Howard has 3 more shut outs… so why isn’t he in the running? THIS is what I’m trying to argue. There are guys who got shafted, and I feel like Henrik is the “sexier name in the NHL” so he gets the nod. That’s my issue. He’s glorified over others who are equally talented. And don’t bring Holtby into this. My argument has and always will be that he gets no respect. And with Neuvy locked in for 2 more years, I highly doubt we’ll see Holtby get the same amount of games played as a Lundvist or Howard or Bobbo. Is what it is. And on a more personal note, my focus on the Rangers is because my best friend is a Rags fan so I know that team almost as well as my Caps. I’m actually elated about the divisional switch and the constant playoff battles because it brings life to what I expect to be a rivalry between 2 teams that seem to always play close games.

      • jkay1818 - May 8, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        the fact you call crawford and ray emery “great” in your argument is a reason to not even debate anything with you. shutouts is another argument I am on the fence about. a goalie can have 9 in one yr and implode in other games. Biron is a very capable backup might i add, one of the better back ups in the NHL. The more you post, the less and less you seem to know about hockey. You also have a major gripe with lundqvist because you mention him in almost EVERY post. You keep comparing holtby and lundqvist as if anyone aside from maybe yourself and some other caps fans would ever take your seriously. saves aren’t a “moot point” who knows how ray emery would fair against twice to three times as many shots. the fact the great emery has been out of the nhl and a backup primarily since leaving the sens proves a lot. what sets lundqvist and howard apart, well the fact he has a higher save %, and a lower GAA which you have failed to mention. and goalies playing less time have nothing to do with it? it is far from asinine. do you have any clue how stats work? why would people throw awards out to goalies who play 20-25 games a yr? You do realize that in they play the mins a lundqvist, niemi or bob do, a few 3 or 4 goal games here or there cost their numbers to sky rocket. same thing applies in baseball or any other sport. a pitcher will have a low era and whip if he’s red hot over a 15 game span, but as the season progresses or has more body of work his numbers implode after a shaky start or two. lundqvist put up those numbers with twice as many games. also, no one cares about you and your best friends relationship, doesn’t make it OK for you to whine all the time about the NYR and lundqvist. You sound ridiculous. Stop dragging everyone else into your affairs. Go text him or call him. Also, do you not remember the capitals in the same division as the NYR for years? this rivalry isn’t new. The patrick division days were a better rivalry.

      • rockthered1286 - May 9, 2013 at 7:55 AM

        jkay- when you say “what sets lundqvist and howard apart, well the fact he has a higher save %, and a lower GAA which you have failed to mention.” did you completely miss where I said:

        “Henrik has a sv % of .003 better, while facing a half a shot more a game and 1 more win and played one more game”

        And while I failed to mention his GAA, I think it’s about .05 difference? It’s not drastic by any means. And what YOU failed to mention is how you can defend HL versus Howard. If their numbers are THAT close but Howard has more shutouts, why was he not in contention? And you’re really making 2 major assumptions with playing time:
        1- “as the season progresses or has more body of work his numbers implode after a shaky
        start or two.” So your saying it’s an absolute that a goalie has bad starts the more they play, but HL is not subject to this possibility? Couldn’t it be said the other way, that the more they face, they tend to get into a comfort zone and their number continue to improve?
        2- “who knows how ray emery would fair against twice to three times as many shots. the fact the great emery has been out of the nhl and a backup primarily since leaving the sens proves a lot.” You’re basing your argument on “who knows.” Answer- NOBODY. Again, you can’t make assupmptions that more shots = worse sv % and GAA. It’s bogus. And basing a players current play on their past? Come on now…

        One more thing I’d like to point out: “Also, do you not remember the capitals in the same division as the NYR for years? this rivalry isn’t new” So because 2 teams play in the same division years ago it counts as a rivalry? Interesting…. I’m saying that the Patrick division has been long gone. You can’t call that a rivalry anymore. But you can very easily say that given the new alignment next year and these teams consistently playing tight games in the playoffs 4 of the past 5 years against eachother that it has rekindled. But no, this has not been a rivalry for quite some time and if you honestly think it is you really know nothing about hockey.

        Then again, this post seems to be very pro-Rangers, so I’ll continue to get thumbs down all day no matter what I say. Well, unless I say the Rangers are the greatest team on ice and HL is the king of the world…

  14. phillyphanatic77 - May 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Bob, no question about it. He put up the best GAA and SV% with the worst supporting cast. Lundqvist is amazing but he has a team in front of him that plays a defensive, shot-blocking style. Niemi was unbelievably consistent with a team that was in flux, but it’s gotta be Bobrovsky. He was the sole reason Columbus was in contention. This after being a laughingstock for years (including the first few weeks of this season).

  15. magicrat13 - May 8, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    hoping for henrik (as a rangers fan) but think it will go to Bobrovsky and i would not complain…

  16. jkay1818 - May 8, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    That defense first and lundqvist has a great D doesn’t really apply to him this yr. On top of that D having injuries. I believe the rangers allowed the most shots in the NHL, if not the most def top two or three.

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 8, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      The Rangers were 20th in shots against per game. Lundqvist is a great goalie but he’s also aided by the Rangers defensive/shot-blocking system. Both San Jose and Columbus allowed more shots per game than the Rangers. So the argument definitely applies this season.

  17. mianfr - May 8, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    No Bryzgalov?

    • sabatimus - May 8, 2013 at 11:07 PM

      No, nor does he bear consideration.

      • mianfr - May 9, 2013 at 12:57 AM

        But the Flyers traded Bob because they had him, so he must be good… Right…?

  18. stratomaticfan - May 8, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Bob should win easily. Rask should have been # 2. Niemi doesn’t even belong in Finalists.

  19. thewaytonever - May 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    As a Sharks fan I would love to see Nemo win it. But, Bob was a beast and I would have no qualms with him walking away with it

  20. 05flynt - May 8, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Why do you think niemi doesn’t deserve to be a finalist?

  21. kicksave1980 - May 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    The takeaway here is that if you don’t bend over for Lundqvist, you’re gonna get mass thumbs-down. I’m not trying to take anything at all away from Lundqvist here, because he is a great goalie. I’m NOT a Columbus fan, but I find myself standing up for Bobrovsky here. A lot of people are using CBJ missing the playoffs as a reason for Bobrovsky to not be awarded the Vezina. The Rangers barely made the playoffs this season. Compare the rosters of NYR and CBJ and tell me which goalie had an easier road to the playoffs. It’s not a good barometer to use when you’re judging individual awards. Bobrovsky had a whopping 3 fewer wins than Henrik, while playing in 5 fewer games. On the Blue Jackets. Let that sink in for a second.

  22. hockeyfan28 - May 8, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    No. 30 in New York is unreal and the only the caps are talking sweep tonight with that being said
    Bob has nowhere the talent Hank does in front of him Bob is the man this year the Vezina is his

  23. comeonnowguys - May 8, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    The Columbus Blue Jackets almost made the playoffs on the strength of Bob’s play.

    The Columbus Blue Jackets.

    Why are we still talking about this?

  24. noah81398 - May 8, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    To say that Tuukka Rask doesn’t deserve at least a shot at the Vezina dumbfounds me in a way. I completely agree with anyone who votes for Bobrovsky, he absolutely is the most deserving out of the three. But King Henrik did not have a stellar season, to say the least, as most of you have eluded to, and I’m on the fence about Niemi. Hoping Bobrovsky wins it, even though his team didn’t make the playoffs, with his great goaltending.

  25. luciddream7 - May 8, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    If a goalie didn’t play close to every game in a 48 game season and was snubbed it was for good reason. Their stats are not comparable to the Niemi’s and Lundqvist’s. It isn’t necessarily their fault that they weren’t between the pipes as often but that has to be taken into consideration. Also stop comparing the stats and performances of goalies this season who haven’t done it year in and year out to those who have (lundqvist) because even though the Vezina is seasonal award anybody can benefit from a strong defense or offense for a year.

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