Lord Stanley resides in California… is the Vezina Next?

Ask any NHL writer or hockey fan “who is the best goalie?” and for the last few years the overwhelming answer was always the same: Martin Brodeur. Yes, guys like Roberto Luongo and Marty Turco were mentioned in the same breath but in the end it has been Brodeur winning the Vezina three of the last four years. One goalie who hasn’t really been mentioned at all in that debate (but should have been) is now making his strongest case yet: San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov.

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Tenders Lounge is located in San Francisco, one hour north of the Shark Tank, so we’re a little biased towards our local goalie but Nabby’s numbers look good from anywhere. Even from New Jersey. Nabokov leads the league in wins with 46 and would have a chance at tying Brodeur’s record for wins in a season (48) but Sharks coach Doug Wilson has decided to play Brian Boucher in one of the Sharks’ last two games (read more about that decision here).

So what kind of chance does Nabokov have of becoming the first Russian goalie to win the Vezina? The road to the trophy will run through the Meadowlands and the reigning title holder. While Nabby will finish the season with the most wins, Marty has a slightly better (0.01) save percentage while having faced about 250 more shots. Nabokov leads Brodeur in shoutouts six to four but Brodeur has a slightly better GAA.

Brodeur also leads in the category of autobiographies published.

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Two former NHL goalies turned television analysts have fallen on opposite sides of the fence in choosing this year’s Vezina winner. Darren Pang sides with Nabokov because he also considers him a Hart candidate for league MVP. Darren Eliot chooses Brodeur for the exact same reason. Who would you pick and would your pick reflect a geographical bias?  If you live on the east coast do you ever stay up late enough to watch the Sharks? Read the complete debate between Pang and Eliot, as well as Wilson’s plug for his guy, here. And tune in to the NHL awards in late June to see who the league’s general managers selected.

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2 Comments

  1. dear chrome dome-

    your insights are fascinating, please sign me up for your newsletter immediately.

  2. I love my fans.


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