Boston’s Rask Favoured To Win Another Vezina Trophy
When Bodog released it’s NHL Awards odds for the fast-approaching 2014-15 season, a familiar name was back atop the list for the Vezina Trophy as the League’s top goaltender. Fresh off his first Vezina, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins was the favourite again at three-to-one.
It’s hard to argue their choice, and NHL.com agreed with it in the first edition of their Trophy Tracker this week. In addition to Rask’s obvious talents between the pipes, the Bruins continue to be one of the best – and stingiest – teams in the NHL. It’s also probably not a coincidence the top three choices all play in the Eastern Conference, with lighter travel making a heavier workload more likely, and lesser opponents top-to bottom compared to the tougher Western Conference.
Right behind Rask on the list are perennial Vezina candidate Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers at 4/1 odds, and defending Olympic gold medal winner Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens at 13/2. Two time and defending Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick is the first entry from the west, checking in at No.4 on the list at 8/1 odds, just ahead of last year’s first-time Vezina finalist Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche, who arguably should have won it last season, at 9/1.
Back to the east, Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils is sixth at 10/1, and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning is seventh at 12/1, the same odds given to Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators as he returns after losing a season to complications from hip surgery, and new Vancouver Canucks No.1 Ryan Miller in his first full season outside of Buffalo. 2013 Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky rounds out the top-10 favourites from the Bodog at 15/1 odds to claim a second trophy with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Choosing among the favourites is tough, especially given the role each team’s system and defensive play figures in a goaltender’s success. But we can give you some unique insights into the skills that helped Rask win last season, and put him back atop this list.
InGoal Magazine featured the Bruins’ star on the cover of its last magazine, with a complete breakdown of his style and skill from goaltending coach Eli Wilson, who worked with Rask and Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa on the transition from Finland to North America, in our feature story, and a downloadable poster that can also be used as desktop wallpaper. Among the unique highlights of Rask’s game that make him one of the best are his incredible patience reacting from his skates rather than his knees, active hands often associated with a lot of Finnish goalies, skating a backwards flow that some goalie coaches might see as wasted extra movement, and a willingness to abandon technique and default to purely reactive athletic saves when needed. Wilson reviews each of these attributes with photo illustrations in the article.
You can read the entire story – and almost 80 pages of goalie breakdowns, techniques and tips – in the current edition of InGoal Magazine by clicking here, or on the image below: