Grit Sets Bishop Apart From Other Vezina Finalists
After the season is over and the Stanley Cup has been hoisted, there will still be one last chance for some of the NHL’s top performers to bring home the hardware. Each year at the end of the hockey season, the NHL hosts an awards ceremony to recognize outstanding players in various categories. One of the trophies to be awarded is the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top goalie. This year’s finalists are Boston’s Tuukka Rask, Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov and Tampa Bay’s very own Ben Bishop. (Photos/Susan Ferlita)
If you look into the history of all three finalists you will see a very common story. Each one drafted in 2005 or 2006, all signed by teams they no longer play for, traded at least once and posted similar numbers during the 2013-2014 season. To most, concrete numbers clearly define who should win. However, there are aspects of a player that statistics and history cannot account for like grit and determination. In the 2013-2014 season Bishop showed the NHL just that.
After Anders Lindback failed to show he was the answer to the Lightning’s goaltending issues, Bishop was promptly promoted to starting goaltender. With a promising start to the 2013 season, winning 14 of their first 19 games, it looked like the team had finally found the missing piece in net. Later in the season, the Lightning’s lack of a strong defense put Bishop’s goaltending to the test. A test that would only get harder for him midway through the season. On January 5, Bishop tore a ligament in his right wrist, requiring him to wear a cast under his glove for the remainder of the season.
Despite a lack of defense and torn ligaments, Bishop finished the season 37 -14-7 with a 2.23 goals against average and a .924 save percentage, a season most goaltenders could only hope to achieve while playing healthy. Though not quite as impressive numbers compared to Rask and Varlamov, grit and determination made Ben Bishop a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Now let’s hope the NHL can appreciate and reward it as much as the Tampa Bay Lightning has.
Congratulations Big Ben on your nomination, you deserve it.
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