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Quartet For Vezina

Wednesday, 13.06.2007 / 4:53 PM / Features
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Quartet For Vezina

By John McGourty, NHL.com

You'd have to think that an NHL player who was nominated as the most valuable this past season by both the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and his on-ice peers in the NHL Players' Association has a pretty good chance to win the award restricted to his position.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, 28, will never score a hat trick in competition, but he might walk off with three awards this year, the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the goalkeeper best at his position in the regular season; the Hart Trophy that goes to the player most valuable to his team; and the Lester B. Pearson Award, the player's choice for regular-season MVP, on Thursday, June 14, during the 2007 NHL Awards Television Special at the historic Elgin Theatre in Toronto (8:30 p.m., ET, CBC).

Luongo had a tremendous first season with the Canucks, arriving in a blockbuster trade last June with Lukas Krajicek for Todd Bertuzzi, Alex Auld and Bryan Allen. Luongo was 47-22-6 with a 2.29 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.

More importantly, Vancouver went 32-8-6 after Dec. 6 to capture the Northwest Division title. The Canucks broke team records with 49 wins and 105 points. He also helped coach Alain Vigneault to a Jack Adams Award nomination as the NHL's top coach.

"Roberto is the foundation that we're going to build around," Vigneault said. "He's got the culture that both (GM) Dave (Nonis) and I want. He's got the passion and the work ethic. He's what we're going to build this team around."

Luongo explained the secret of his success to the Vancouver Province.

"I hate losing, no matter what I do," Luongo said. "It's not only hockey. I am a very competitive guy. Losing is not something that I enjoy. Obviously, I take it hard. It takes me a while to get over it."

Luongo is one of four candidates selected by a poll of NHL general managers, along with Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff, the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist and the Devils' Martin Brodeur. There are four candidates this year because two of them tied for third.

Brodeur is in contention for his third Vezina Trophy. He won in 2003 and 2004 and has been nominated seven times. He has also been nominated for the Hart Trophy.

Brodeur, 35, won an NHL-record 48 games, surpassing Philadelphia Flyers' goalie Bernie Parent's 47 set in 1973-74. Brodeur led the NHL with 12 shutouts and ranked third with a 2.18 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

"I think it was an exciting season for myself," Brodeur told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I had a lot of success. We had a good team and I was part of it."

Brodeur led the NHL by playing in 78 games and by stopping 2,011 shots. His 2,182 shots against were eight behind league-leader Kiprusoff and 13 ahead of Luongo. Thanks to Brodeur's high level of play, the Devils were able to win the Atlantic Division by two points over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brodeur was the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy in 1997, 1998 and 2006. He was third in 2001. In 13 seasons, Brodeur, the Devils' first-round pick, 20th overall, in the 1990 draft, has a 494-263-105 record. His 152 consecutive playoff games for Devils is an NHL record. Brodeur won the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003.

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