Tonight in Toronto the NHL will host its annual award ceremony (viewable on NHL Network in the US). One goalie award is already known as Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood will share the Jennings Trophy for best goals against average. The real goalie award is the Vezina, which will go to Martin Brodeur, Henrik Lundqvist or Evgeni Nabokov. For Brodeur a win would be his fourth (in five seasons); for Lundqvist or Nabokov it would be their first. As with any subjective award there are two ways to predict the winner… who should win it and who will win it.
How about a quick look at their statistics for the season (I’ve included playoff success even though the award is voted upon at the end of the regular season):
77 GP, 44 Wins, 4 SO, 2.17 GAA, .920 SV% and a first round playoff loss
72 GP, 37 Wins, 10 SO, 2.23 GAA, .912 SV% and a second round playoff loss
77 GP, 46 Wins, 6 SO, 2.14 GAA, .910 SV% and a second round playoff loss
My job here at TendersLounge is not to break news (I can’t compete with ESPN for that) but to comment on how it affects the world of goalies. Today the goalie world loses one of the best there’s ever been (I’m not eulogizing him, he is still alive!) as Dominik Hasek has retired from the NHL.
He is the only goalie to win the league MVP award twice. He has six Vezina trophies. He’s won the Stanley Cup twice. He was one half of the most infamous goal in recent NHL history and part of one of the most famous games in recent Olympic history. He finished his career with the highest save percentage ever.
All of those accomplishments might not even cover his biggest accomplishment and that was changing the way the position was played. You may not have been able to call it a style, but he changed the game none-the-less. Call it the ‘Hasek style of goaltending’. Call it the “stop-the-puck-with-any-part-of-your-body style”. Or as MasterCard so eloquently put it years ago, “having a slinky for a spine… priceless”.