Next in line of Rock the Red’s Capitals Awards Ceremony is the Vezina Trophy, presented to the Caps most outstanding goaltender during the regular season. The Vezina Trophy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s goaltender who has “adjudged to be the best at this position,” is the third oldest individual award (behind the Hart and Lady Byng). The winner is selected by a poll of the 30 General Managers of the teams in the NHL following the season, however today’s winner was determined by a poll of Rock the Red’s bloggers. The current holder of the trophy is Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins. The finalists for the 2011-12 season are the Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Quick (first nomination), the Nashville Predators’ Pekka Rinne (second nomination), and the New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist (first nomination). The Caps have had two Vezina Trophy winners in its history: Jim Carey (1995-96) and Olaf Kolzig (1999-00). On the homefront, the 2010-11 Capitals Awards Ceremony winner was Michal Neuvirth, and the 2009-10 winner was Jose Theodore.
And the nominees are, in alphabetical order:
Braden Holtby played in seven games for the Washington Capitals during the regular season, making his 2011-12 season debut February 13th in a 5-3 loss at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. While his first start wasn’t impressive, the next time Holts got the nod he took the chance and ran with it- allowing just four goals on 57 shots against Philadelphia and Detroit, and capping it off shutting out the Minnesota. He finished the season with a record of 4-2-1, and compiled a 2.49 GAA and a .922 Sv % working as the third stringer behind Neuvirth and Vokoun.
Coming off of a 2010-11 season in which he wrestled the starting netminder position away from Semyon Varlomov, 24-year old Michal Neuvirth looked to be the go-to guy for the Caps this season. When Washington inked Tomas Vokoun in free agency, many wrote Neuvi off as a back-up but he performed well enough to win the opening night nod – and injured himself in practice the next day. The rest of his 2011-12 season seemed plagued by injuries and mercurial play. In his 38 games played (30 starts), Neuvi posted an average 13-13-5 record en route to a 2.82 GAA and .903 Sv %.
The Washington Capitals signed Tomas Vokoun after free agency had ended to a one-year, $1.5 million contract – which was regarded by some as the steal of the off-season. The Vokes-Wagon started the season strong following a Neuvirth injury, compiling a six game win streak, but then quickly became unreliable due to injury and inconsitant performances. Vokoun went 25-17-2 in his 48 games this past season, posting a 2.51 GAA and .917 Sv % (his worst since the 2003-04 season) and was considered a dissapointment by many. Part of Vokoun’s season can be attributed to the Caps’ road woes – his GAA balloons from 2.05 to 3.03 when playing away from the Verizon Center- or the Caps’ offense failing to put the puck in the net (.941 Sv % in wins vs .881 Sv % in losses).
Other awards from the 2011-12 Capitals Awards Ceremony:
And the winner is…