Friday, June 4, 2010

Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award: The goaltenders Kryptonite

Sports and curses/jinx go together like peanut butter and jelly or for those north of the boarder like gravy and cheese curd on french fries.

So when I was looking over the history of the “Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award” I couldn’t help but think this thing is jinxed.

For those that are not familiar with the award it is awarded by the National Hockey League to the goaltender who ends the season with the best save percentage (with at least 25 games played). Eight players have won the award since its inception in 1999-2000.

The list of winners is as follows:
Ed Belfour (1999-2000)
Marty Turco (2000-2001)
Jose Theodore (2001-2002)
Marty Turco (2002-2003)
Dwayne Roloson (2003-2004)
Cristobal Huet (2005-2006)
Niklas Backstrom (2006-2007)
Dan Ellis (2007-2008)
Tim Thomas (2008-2009)
Tuukka Rask (2009-2010)

So you’ve just had the best save percentage in the entire NHL what are you going to do? - Nothing? At least in the NFL if you win you go to Disney World

Lets look at the post lock out era goalies to win because lets face it the game has changed since then. Each of them had a finonimal season only to end up replaced.

Huet is currently playing in the Stanley Cup Finals right now; however, I use the term playing lightly as he is sitting on the bench collecting a HUGE pay check while the rookie kid from Finland, Antti Niemi, has taken his place on the ice.

Backstrom and the Wild have been plagued with goaltending problems (mostly injuries and lets not forget the fire that destroyed the teams equipment earlier this season) so I‘ll go light on them.

Ellis won the award and then had to split a season with Pekka Rinne the following season for lackluster play and only 11 wins for the season. He’s now testing the free agency market this summer as Rinne has taken over as starter for the Predators.

Tim Thomas. The amazingly heartfelt story from the 2008-2009 season who went on to win not only this award but the Vezina Trophy for the top goaltender of the season - he made the 2010 Team USA Olympic roster but never saw ice time and was replaced by the rookie Tuukka Rask as the starter for the Bruins.

Which brings us to this years winner - Tuukka Rask. - History will be made… or maybe jinxed.


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