It shouldn’t be a surprise that Philipp Grubauer was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy on Tuesday. After all, the Avs goaltender has been one of the most consistent and effective goalies in the NHL this season. It was, however, a surprise to the man himself.
“Never thought in my life I’d be in that group,” Grubauer said Tuesday. “It’s a huge honor.”
The always-selfless Grubauer, who will always deflect attention away from himself and credit the team, did just that on Tuesday.
“It’s not only an honor for myself, I think it represents the organization as well. It’s an honor for the coaching staff, for Jussi (Parkkila, Avs goaltending coach), for everybody who is putting time and effort into it behind the scenes.”
“It’s not really important to me, the personal stats,” he later added. “It’s important to get those two points and get the win and that’s what I’m focused on. I don’t really pay too much attention to standings and stats.”
Speaking of, let’s take a look at his stats, shall we?
Grubauer was 30-9-1 in his 40 appearances in net this season, finishing one win behind 2019 Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is also up for the annual top-goaltender award. Grubauer tied old pal Semyon Varlamov for the NHL lead in shutouts (7). Of the Vezina finalists, Grubauer leads the pack with a 1.95 goals-against average during the regular season.
In the postseason thus far, he’s a perfect 5-0, ranking 1st (tied) with a 1.60 GAA and 2nd with a .941 save percentage.
The third finalist for the Vezina also happens to be one of the goaltenders on the other bench in this series with Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury, who many seem to assume will win this year’s award, is also a first-time finalist for the league’s top-goaltender prize.
“It makes it really exciting,” Grubauer said of competing against a fellow finalist in the series against Vegas. “Hopefully he plays tomorrow. I don’t think that happens too many times, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s been a battle all season long with him. He’s an unbelievable goalie. He’s a guy that I watched when I came over in the Canadian Hockey League. I always watched Flower, so it’s fun for me to look down on the other end and see him.”
Other news and notes:
- Erik Johnson was on the ice on Tuesday, donning the red, no-contact jersey. See for yourself:
Erik Johnson practicing here pic.twitter.com/pdhNgKQ5NC
— Adrian Dater (@adater) June 1, 2021
- Logan O’Connor was spotted as well, skating with the reserves on the other sheet of ice at Family Sports Center.
- Ryan Graves seems to be A-OK after he was mauled by Ryan Reaves in Game 1. Reaves was handed a two-game suspension by the Department of Player Safety. He’s eligible to return for Game 4…which I could imagine will get ugly. We’ll see what kind of response the Avs have for Reaves’ return.
- Philipp Grubauer commented on the Reaves situation, telling reporters that the Vegas forward “doesn’t really cross the line too many times,” before adding, “I thought he did a little bit with Gravy there, but stuff like that happens.”
- Grubauer said he “gets that (Reaves) is trying to send a message,” in response to Graves’ hit on Mattias Janmark. “Player Safety took care of it and that’s all I can say about it,” he finished.
- I think many would disagree with Grubauer’s assessment that “Player Safety took care of it.” (See comments).
- When asked to compare it to Nazem Kadri’s suspension situation, coach Bednar said, “Totally different circumstances. He got two games and that’s it. I really don’t have anything to say on it. My focus is preparing for tomorrow night.”
- It was the only question coach Bednar got from the media today.
- It’s becoming clear the Avs head coach is getting somewhat annoyed with the questions re: Ryan Reaves and Nazem Kadri suspensions, which I totally understand, but as reporters, we have to do our due diligence.
- Sampo Ranta, who made is NHL debut on Sunday, was also made available to the media on Tuesday. He said he found out in morning skate that he’d be playing in Game 1. “It was a good day,” he said.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Avs respond to Vegas—and to coach Pete DeBoer’s comments—without Ryan Reaves in the lineup. There will certainly be a response for Reaves when he returns for Game 4, one would think.
Puck drop for Game 2 is set for tomorrow night at 8 p.m. MST.