Tim Thomas wins Vezina Trophy as NHL’s best goaltender

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Tim Thomas with both the Vezina Trophy and the Conn Smythe during the 2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

Tim Thomas won his second Vezina Trophy competition for the NHL’s best goaltender tonight at the league’s annual awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

The Bruins netminder, who took home the award in 2009, beat out the Nashville Predator’s Pekka Rinne and old friend Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks for the honor.

Thomas was named on 26 of 30 ballots in voting by the NHL’s general managers and was the top selection on 17 for 104 points, according to NHL.com, topping Rinne who had 84 while Luongo was a distant third with 33.


Thomas led the NHL with a .938 save percentage, best in the history of the National Hockey League, surpassing Dominik Hasek’s .937 set in the 1998-89 season. He had a record of 35-11-9 in 57 games this season, with a league-low 2.00 goals-against-average to go along with nine shutouts, a career high. He won his first eight decisions of the season to set a Bruins record.

“First off I’d like to start out by congratulating Roberto Luongo and Pekka Rinne on fantastic seasons,” Thomas said after he took the stage to accept his award. “I’d like to thank my teammates, who, without I … you can’t win the Vezina Trophy, goaltending is the most team-dependent position that there is in hockey.

“I’d like to thank my family and friends for their longtime, unwavering support through all of the ups and downs.”

Thomas also spoke about coming back from hip surgery a little over a year ago, and the healing process that enabled him to be a top performer this year.

“A little bit over a year ago, I had hip surgery,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to play at the level that I’d become accustomed to playing with ever again, and so I’d like to thank Dr. Bryan Kelly for doing the hip surgery and doing such a fantastic job.”


Thomas then gave special thanks to Dennis Thompson and Jay Schroeder for a system they used to recover his hip from the surgery, which Thomas said increased his athletic performance immensely.

Thomas closed his remarks by thanking God.

The 37-year-old native of Flint, Michigan recorded a 1.98 GAA, winning 16 games in the postseason run that led to the Bruins first Stanley Cup title in 39 years. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the postseason.

John Hamm, who plays leading man Don Draper on AMC’s slick series Mad Men, handed off the trophy to Thomas during the presentation at the Pearl Theater at the Palms hotel.

“I’m a big fan of goalies,” Hamm said on NHL Network prior to the award show. “I was a catcher in high school baseball so anybody who straps pads on and gets stuff thrown at them at 100 miles-per-hour deserves a trophy.”

Photos: Tim Thomas through the years

More from the NHL awards: Zdeno Chara loses out to Nicklas Lindstrom for Norris Trophy for best defenseman

Here’s the full list of tonight’s award winners via NHL.com, where in a bit of a surprise Anaheim’s Corey Perry, who led the NHL with 50 goals and scored a career-best 98 points, won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP besting the Canucks’ Daniel Sedin:

– Norris (Outstanding Defenseman): Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
– Art Ross (Regular-Season Scoring Leader): Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
– Mark Messier Leadership Award: Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
– Selke (Outstanding Defensive Forward): Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
– Jack Adams (Coach of the Year): Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins
– Calder (Top Rookie): Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
– Jennings (Fewest Goals Allowed): Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks
– General Manager: Mike Gillis, Vancouver Canucks
– Rocket Richard (Most Regular-Season Goals): Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
– Ted Lindsay (MVP as Voted by Players): Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
– Masterton (Perseverance and Dedication to Hockey): Ian Laperriere, Philadelphia Flyers
– King Clancy (Leadership and Humanitarian Contributions): Doug Weight, New York Islanders
– Lady Byng (Skillful and Gentlemanly Play): Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
– Vezina (Top Goaltender): Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
– Hart (MVP): Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

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