Julien: Rask probably not worried about Vezina snub

Julien: Rask probably not worried about Vezina snub
May 8, 2013, 3:00 pm
Share This Post

TORONTO – It was perhaps a mild surprise that Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask wasn’t among the three Vezina Trophy finalists named on Thursday morning. Instead Sergei Bobrovsky, Antti Niemi and Henrik Lundqvist were all named as finalists for the top goaltender award as voted on by the NHL’s general managers. 

Rask was likely held off as the fourth place finisher. The B’s netminder finished tied for fourth with a 2.00 goals against average, finished third in the NHL with a .929 save percentage and tied for the NHL’s lead with five shutouts on the season. But Rask was also the goaltender of record for the majority of the eight games that Boston frittered away despite holding third-period leads during the season, and he went through minor struggles before finishing strong with a .941 save percentage in the month of April.

Many of Rask’s teammates were surprised by Rask’s omission from the list of candidates, even though Niemi and Lundqvist are viewed as battling for second place with Bobrovsky the clear leader in the Vezina clubhouse. 

Claude Julien wasn’t all that worked up about it, just as he didn’t think the B’s should feel disrespected that Zdeno Chara wasn’t a Norris Trophy finalist this season.

“I don’t think Tuukka is going to lose too much sleep over it. At least I hope not,” said Julien. “It’s kind of like Zdeno. To our team he’s a Norris Trophy winner every year. Everybody knows where we’d be without him. There aren’t too many teams that are able to keep their elite players away from him game after game.

“That speaks volumes about him. Tuukka is the same way. He’s had a great year and he’s been very good for us. Sometimes you control what you can, and he can control how well he continues to play through these playoffs. That’s more valuable than a little individual trophy that’s voted on by some people. You aim for the big trophy.”

Rask looked like his focus was plainly on that bigger trophy as he made 45 saves in Game 3, and stopped 17 pucks during a frenzied Toronto comeback attack in the final 20 minutes. That performance puts him at a 2.36 goals against average and .929 save percentage for the series, and paints him as a clear difference-maker in a series that’s been a bad match-up for Toronto.