On a day that sees the Nashville Predators play their most important game in franchise history, Pekka Rinne, has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy, the award given to the goaltender judged to be the best in the National Hockey League.
Rinne’s regular season statistics were undeniable. Having played in 64 games, the Finnish netminder ended the season with a 2.12 GAA, good for third in the League behind the other two Vezina nominees, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins and Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks. His .930 save percentage was second in the League to Thomas.
Thomas is the favorite to win the Award. A Vezina winner in 2009, Thomas lost his starting position last season to Tuukka Rask but regained it this year on his way to leading the League in both goals against and save percentage.
Luongo also put up good numbers, leading his team to the President’s Trophy. His 2.11 GAA that was second only to Thomas and he finished fourth in the League with a .928 save percentage.
But the Nashville Predators had to fight for their playoff position and did so with Pekka Rinne as their go-to guy, playing 29 of the team’s final 30 games to nail down fifth position in the Western Conference during a season where the Predators suffered several season ending injuries, finished 21st in the League in scoring (the lowest for any team that made the postseason) and on a team where no player had more than 50 points.
Voting for the Vezina was done by the League’s 30 general managers. The results will be announced at the Awards ceremony in Las Vegas on June 22.
The nomination is the first time the Predators have been nominated for an award that is handed out to a player for being best at their particular position.
Steve Sullivan won the Masterton Trophy in 2009 for overcoming a back injury that kept him out of the lineup for more than an entire season.
Predators GM David Poile has already been nominated this season for the GM of the Year Award. He was also nominated last year, the first year for the award.
Head Coach Barry Trotz was nominated for the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year a season ago, and is considered by many to be a candidate for nomination again this season. The finalists for the Jack Adams will not be released until late next week.
Photo Credit: AP
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