I sincerely hope that the general managers and sportswriters who vote on the end-of-season awards do not think like Rocky Bonanno.
His picks for Vezina nominees: Niklas Backstrom, Evgeni Nabokov, and Miikka Kiprusoff.
In my book that's going 0 for 3, as those three rank 15th, 19th, and 33rd respectively in the latest shot quality neutral save percentage rankings at Hockey Numbers. If you are going to just rank goalies entirely based on wins, at least put somebody like Cam Ward in there who actually has been having a good season.
And then there is this example of impeccable logic:
Honorable mention also goes to Boston's Tim Thomas, but 52 games played doesn't bring him up to snuff.
That's right, Thomas, you should have demanded your team play you more games. Don't you know that there is some magical point at around the 55 game mark that makes you instantly become worthy of Vezina consideration?
Take Evgeni Nabokov, for instance, who has played 59 games this season. It shouldn't even be necessary to explain why 59 games played is so much more valuable than 52, but I'll give it a try for all of you non-NHL.com analysts out there who clearly don't understand goaltending.
Let's compare them through their first 52 games this season:
Nabokov: 36-8-7, 2.41, .911
Thomas: 34-11-7, 2.07, .933
Even though it looks like Thomas was by far the superior goaltender through the first 52 games, by playing more games Nabokov had a much harder workload. I mean, just look at the difference in the number of shots faced this year:
Shots against in 2008-09:
Evgeni Nabokov: 1,622
Tim Thomas: 1,621
Maybe Thomas would have let in his next shot, and then have his teammates score 33 own goals on him, dropping him behind Nabokov in save percentage. We just don't know, and that's why anything a goalie does in only 52 games is completely worthless.
Similarly, in his first 52 games this season Kiprusoff had fewer wins than Thomas did over the same span, as well as a 2.80 GAA and a .906 save percentage. In his extra games played over Thomas, Kipper has gone 12-8-1, 2.91, .895. To match Kiprusoff's season stats, Thomas would have only needed to win 11 out of his last 23 decisions, and put up a 4.78 GAA and an .805 save percentage.
Some of you might think that is pretty good evidence that Thomas has been a lot better than Kiprusoff. You would be wrong. Of course I do concede that the goalie currently leading the league in save percentage might not turn into by far the worst goalie in the history of the NHL over his next 23 games. That is possible, some might even say probable. But it could have happened. All we know is that Kiprusoff did play those extra games and Thomas didn't. Seventy-five is more than 52, and therefore Kipper has been a better goalie this season. End of story.