While the Carolina Hurricanes 2009-10 NHL season fell short of the expectations we brought to table back in October, that doesn’t mean there weren’t many bright spots for the players and fans this season. Canes Country thought we’d look back at some individuals whose performances were exemplary, and whose efforts and skill inspired us to keep watching. Using the traditional team and annual NHL Awards as a guide, Cory, Bob and I have each nominated a player from the Carolina roster for nine of these awards. Over the next week, we will ask you, our insightful readers, to vote for and tell us why you think one Hurricane player deserves our recognition for a job well done.
The Vezina Trophy
What is it?
The Vezina Trophy is an annual award given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs. [The] owners of the Montreal Canadiens presented the trophy to the National Hockey League in 1926-27 in memory of Georges Vezina, outstanding goalkeeper of the Canadiens, who collapsed during an NHL game Nov. 28, 1925, and died of tuberculosis a few months later.
Who received the Vezina over the last 3 years?
2009: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins,
2008, 2007: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils (4 times in career)
After the jump Bob, Cory and Hockeymom each make their nominations and tell why.
And the nominees are:
Bob nominates: Manny Legace
|2009 - Manny Legace
With my nomination, I'm not suggesting that Legace is more talented or has more ability than either Ward or Peters. But I am saying that the Hurricanes got more for their money from his performances than they did from anyone else.
Legace stole the job away from Michael Leighton by quite frankly, out-playing the previous backup. He came in when things were at their darkest during the season and usually performed well. His humor also helped to lighten the mood in the dressing room and during practice.
Who was a part of the longest winning streak of the season for the Canes? Legace.
Who earned the only shutout of the season for the Canes? Legace
Who was not around for most of the 14 game winless streak which was the primary reason the Hurricanes failed to make the postseason? Legace.
I think a strong case could be made that he was the outstanding goaltender this season for the franchise.
Cory Lavalette nominates: Cam Ward
|2009 - Cam Ward
Yes, Ward was in net early in the season when things went wrong. But if you look beyond the win-loss record, Ward matched last season's career-high .916 save percentage — though his goals-against average did go up. Justin Peters and Manny Legace performed admirably this season, but you can't compare either to what Ward is able to do between the pipes.
Hockeymomof2 nominates: Justin Peters
|2009 - Justin Peters
Justin Peters, age 23, may have only played in 9 games, but boy, didn't he make an impression in Carolina? Until his last couple games, his stat line was phenomenal, proving he is ready to challenge former All-Star Manny Legace for the back-up spot next year. Peters had been a solid #1 in Albany, but when Ward went out the second time, in February with his back problem, Peters got the call to join the big team. His debut in the Nassau Coliseum, giving up just one goal to the Islanders and receiving the first star, was an inspiration to the team and the fans, just when we were wondering what else could possibly go wrong this season. He went on to take wins over Martin Brodeur and the Devils, and the offensive hotshots of the Pittsburgh Penguins (twice!) and the Washington Capitals. Truth be told, his stay with us was too brief to be considered a valid Vezina candidate, but his accomplishments were both superb and significant for what they meant to the season and so for that, his name deserves to be included here.