Friday, June 19, 2009
Two things gave you an edge in last night's NHL Awards ceremony: being Russian or being a Bruin. Every Bruin nominated for an award won it. Tim Thomas won the Vezina (best goalie), Zdeno Chara won the Norris (best defenseman), and Claude Julien won the Jack Adams (best coach).
Tim Thomas was simply unbelievable for the Bruins. He led the NHL with a 2.10 GAA, and .933 SV%. In the postseason, he had a playoff best 1.85 GAA in his 11 games, which came with a .935 SV%.
Timmy's the first Bruin to win the Vezina since 1983 (Pete Peeters), and the first American to win it since 1996 (Jim Carey). It's only the 8th time the trophy has been given to a Bruin.
Zdeno Chara is simply the big brother on the Bruins. Mess with anyone in black and gold, and you'll eventually have to answer to Chara. He was +23, tied for 7th best among defenseman. His 19 goals were 4th amongst defensemen, he was 6th in ice time. He used his impressive wingspan to literally decrease the amount of free ice opponents could use. He was both intimidating and irritating. Whenever he was on the ice, he changed the dimensions of the game.
Chara's the first Bruin to win the Norris since 1994 (Raymond Bourque). Since the award was first given in 1954, a Bruin has won it 14 times (Orr had 8, Bourque had 5). Chara is the first Slovakian to win the Norris.
Claude Julien took a team of kids and turned them into contenders. Who knows what would've happened had key players like Kessel, Krejci, Kobasew, and Ference remained healthy. But this team wasn't much different from the 8th seeded, below .500 Bruins that exited in the 1st round of the 2008 playoffs. So this award is really given for two years of coaching.
Claude's the first Bruins coach to win the award since Pat Burns in 1998. This is only the 3rd time a Bruins coach has won the Jack Adams.
It also should be noted that Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez share the William M. Jennings Trophy for playing goalie 25+ times for the team that allowed the fewest goals.
Ryan Remiorz/Associated Press