Tue 1 May 2007
The National Hockey League has added a bit of an interesting twist to tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Game 4 contest between the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers. The NHL announced the nominees for eight of its annual awards. The intrigue stems from who was nominated and who was not nominated.
RangersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist joins Martin Brodeur, Miikka Kiprusoff and Roberto Luongo as the four nominees for the Vezina Trophy. Conspicuous by his absence is Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller.
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve already read stories of how the Sabres reacted to the pre-series comments made by Sean Avery and Tom Renney. Will the Sabres use MillerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s snub as further ammunition or will Lundqvist feed off the extra electricity in the Garden?
Will the NHLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dastardly video replay officials rear their collective heads and try to snatch victory away from the rangers and feed the Blueshirts to the jaws of defeat?
Will Pierre Maguire bore us to death as he explains, for the hundredth time, that hooking is going to be called when a playerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stick is parallel to the ice?
All these questions, and more, will be answered tonight at Madison Square Garden. All I know is there better not be any double overtime tonight because tomorrow is a work day!
In addition, with Hartford losing its First Round playoff series to the Providence Bruins in seven games, the Rangers have recalled the following 10 members of the Wolf Pack to serve as practice players: goaltender Al Montoya, defensemen David Liffiton and Hannu Pikkarainen and forwards Alex Bourret, Dane Byers, Nigel Dawes, Brandon Dubinsky, Jarkko Immonen, Hugh Jessiman and Greg Moore.
The Rangers still have two non-injury moves they can make to add players to the roster. Defenseman Jason Strudwick has been practicing with the Blueshirts, but he is ineligible for post-season play.
Here is the NHLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s official press release regarding the Vezina Trophy nominees.
The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position,” as voted by League General Managers.
MARTIN BRODEUR – New Jersey Devils
Earned his seventh career nomination as a Vezina finalist; captured the award in 2003 and 2004, finished second in 1997, 1998 and 2006, was third in 2001.
Won an NHL-record 48 games, surpassing Bernie Parent’s 47 in 1973-74; led the NHL in shutouts (12), ranked third in goals-against average (2.18) and save percentage (.922).
MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF – Calgary Flames
A Vezina Trophy finalist for the third consecutive season; captured the award in 2006 and finished second in 2004.
Ã‚Â· Posted a 40-24-9 record in 74 games; tied for third overall in shutouts (seven).
HENRIK LUNDQVIST – New York Rangers
A Vezina Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season; finished third in 2006.
Ã‚Â· Posted a 37-22-8 record in 70 games; tied for third overall in shutouts (seven).
Ã‚Â· Finished the season with a 16-4-5 record, 1.72 GAA and .936 save percentage in 27 games.
ROBERTO LUONGO – Vancouver Canucks
A Vezina Trophy finalist for the first time; also a finalist for the Hart, Pearson awards.
Ã‚Â· Compiled a 47-22-6 record in 76 games, including a 26-7-5 mark when facing 30+ shots; matched the NHL single-season victories record entering the season (Bernie Parent, 1973-74).