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
Pete Peeters came within a game (and a missed offside call) of doing it in 1980. Five years later Pelle Lindbergh won one game in the finals but ultimately lost to the Oilers. Ron Hextall almost did it in 1987 after being down three games to one against the Oilers and then fell short against the Red Wings ten years later. And this year Martin Biron has led an unexpected run by the Flyers to the Conference Final. But in the 40 years of franchise history, Bernie Parent remains the only Flyers goalie to win the Stanley Cup.
Parent still lives in the Philadelphia area and has embraced his role at the Godfather of Flyers goalies. He proudly watches each successive generation of goalies try to duplicate his success and likes what he sees this year. “Biron is playing well… he is seeing the puck in slow motion”. What Parent likes most about Biron is his ability to bounce back. “Just because he has a bad game or a bad stretch, he doesn’t question himself as a goalie”.
Parent certainly know of what he speaks. After returning from the WHA Philadelphia Blazers back to the NHL’s Flyers he led the Broad Street Bullies to back-to-back Cups in 1974 and ’75. Parent was such a dominant force for the Flyers that he also won the Vezina and the Conn Smythe trophies both those years as well (Mario Lemieux is the only other player to win the Conn Smythe back-to-back). I was only five years old when the Flyers won their first Cup so I don’t remember seeing Parent play but my dad has told me a number of times that Parent meant more to the Flyers than Ken Dryden ever meant to the Canadiens’ run of four Cups.
Will Biron reach the pinnacle that eluded so many other great Flyer goalies? He seems to have the demeanor for it. Click here to read a good article in Philly.com about the history of Philadelphia goalies. There are some interesting comments from Hextall about the amount of credit he received for the Flyers run in ’87 as well as some observations from current San Jose Shark Brian Boucher that prove the Flyers goalies are all part of the same brotherhood.
When I first read that Jaroslav Halak was starting game four in place of Carey Price my first reaction was to pat myself on the shoulder for one of my first posts in which I predicted Halak would be the first backup goalie to make a big impression in relief. (I’m not counting Chris Osgood taking over the Wings’ crease because he’s really a co-number-one, not a real backup).
Lucky for me I kept my fingers off the keyboard as Martin Biron (the true goaltending story of this year’s playoffs) won another game for his Flyers. Only in the lonely world of a blogger can one take solace in at least suggesting that Carey Price might not be able to carry the load but I guess that’s all I have right now. What do you think, can Habs’ goalie coach Rolie Melanson help Price bounce back and get the Habs back into this series or are we looking at a Keystone State conference final?
Think Martin Biron is enjoying the way his Flyers are playing against the Habs? You don’t know the half of it! Biron is certainly enjoying his team’s run against the Canadiens and has put his team in a commanding 3-1 series lead but there’s more to beating the Habs than just carrying the Flyers on his shoulders. Continue reading
Marty Biron is in the midst of a fabulous playoff run, having led the Flyers to a seven-game upset of the Caps and now a hard-earned split in Montreal. As noted in our previous post on Biron, he’s more talkative than your average ‘tender. Watch this NHL.com video for proof and Biron spills the beans on what he keeps in his purse!