To the surprise of nobody, the NHL announced today that Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is one of three finalists for the 2010-11 Vezina Trophy, awarded annually "to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position".
Thomas is one of three finalists, along with Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and Nashville's Pekka Rinne -- but it would be quite the upset if either one of them beat out Thomas.
Thomas' season went down in the record books as, statistically speaking, the best ever. His single-season save percentage, a mark of .938, squeaked by the previous record of .937 set by Dominik Hasek in 1998-99.
Thomas also ended the regular season with a record of 35-11-9, and had a GAA (goals against average) of 2.00. He posted nine shutouts this season along the way, a career high.
Thomas' resurgence as one of, if not the, top goalies in the league is somewhat of a surprise. After his Vezina Trophy season in 2008-09, his production dropped off considerably last season.
He was just 17-18, and his GAA rose from 2.10 to 2.56. By the end of the season and into the playoffs, Tuukka Rask was the Bruins' go-to guy, with hopes that the B's could trade Thomas during the offseason.
That isn't the case anymore. Rask is now the backup behind Thomas, and it should stay that way for the rest of the postseason.
The winner will be announced on June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while always holding a special place in my heart for Dickie Dunn as my favorite "Slap Shot" character. If Dickie Dunn wrote it, then it must be true.
*The ESPN hockey crew puts together some of their best scenes and favorite lines from "Slap Shot" as the movie hits 40 years old. I was first introduced to Slap Shot in my high school years and I liked it for the Hanson Brothers as much as for anything else, but that is a movie that just gets better and better every time I watch it. And I’ve watched it dozens and dozens of times. God bless Paul Newman for agreeing to lend his Hollywood star power to such a crazy, hilarious and raucous love letter to hockey.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Brian Wilde is recognizing the limitations of the Canadiens even under new coach Claude Julien.
*Bryan Bickell is stepping even closer to a return to the Carolina Hurricanes as he battles through his MS diagnosis.
*Kevin Shattenkirk apparently turned down a sign-and-trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, and also turned down a chance to get dealt to the Edmonton Oilers last summer as well. I think the Blues D-man has a short list of teams he wants to sign with as a free agent, and neither one of those teams is on the list.
*Darren Dreger weighs in on Shattenkirk as well, and the price tag of a top prospect, first-round pick and NHL player for the puck-moving rental D-man seems very excessive.
*Things are coming to a head with Evander Kane and the Buffalo Sabres as he takes his play to a high level in Buff over the last few months.
*Interesting piece on Ed Snider’s daughter becoming an advocate for medicinal marijuana after his father’s health battles.
*For something completely different: Looks like a new season of "The Voice" coming our way.