Dave Lozo at NHL.com feels that Henrik Lundqvist is the frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy at the season’s mid-point…
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers — The Rangers’ rise to the top of the NHL standings has been jump-started by the 29-year-old, who has been nominated for the Vezina three times but has yet to win it. His numbers for the season are excellent — 18-7-4, 1.89, .939 — and he’s been even better recently. Since Dec. 1, Lundqvist is 8-3-1 with a 1.57 GAA and .947 save percentage.
Meanwhile, Elliotte Friedman at CBC Sports was told this about Lundqvist by an opposing goaltending coach…
“His focus around the net is as good as I’ve ever seen. He puts his weight forward, arms wide and you can’t see anything to shoot at.”
…unless you see this guy play on a gamely basis (which every Rangers fan does) you can’t appreciate how impressive Hank is. He refuses to give in and makes opponents work as hard as they can for every goal. Not sure I’ve ever, in any sport, seen an athlete as competitive as Lundqvist. I’ve read on numerous occasions Rangers players discussing how enraged he gets during practice when he lets in a goal. Not a game, not a game, I’m talking about practice.
…i thought it was criminal he wasn’t named a Vezina finalist last year, but if he keeps this up he will be the run away winner this season and may even find himself holding the Hart Trophy as well.
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In other mid-point awards, Adam Kimelman at NHL.com names Michael Del Zotto as one of his first half surprises.
Del Zotto has 5g, 18a and is a +25.
…+25?!?!?!? Wow. Remember when we all criticized him for his rookie year -20. He’s inexplicably been able to get himself back to an even rating for his career in half a season.
…the way Del Zotto has been able to bring himself back from the dead this year pretty much defines the word “surprise.”