Tim Thomas, Niklas Backstrom, Steve Mason Announced As Vezina Finalists

Kevin van Steendelaar@@LeTirEtLeButAnalyst IApril 27, 2009

MONTREAL- APRIL 20:  Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins gets down to stop a shot during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on April 20, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 4-2.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

The NHL announced it's finalists for the Vezina Trophy, awarded the the best goalie in the regular season, Monday afternoon.

The Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas, the Minnesota Wild's Niklas Backstrom and the Columbus Blue Jackets' Steve Mason will vie for the award, voted on by the league General Managers.

Mason, a rookie, set a franchise-record three consecutive shutouts in December, and was instrumental in the Blue Jackets' first post-season appearance in franchise history.

Thomas, 31, led the league with a 2.10 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage.

"Just breaking into the NHL a few years ago, you're always trying to make your goals bigger, but you want to make them reasonable," said Thomas, after Monday's practice.

"You know, One step at a time."

"Being a Vezina finalist was always off my radar. I think as the year went on this year, I realized there might be a chance. But it's quite an honor."

Backstrom set a franchise record for the Wild with 37 wins.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

He ranked amongst the top five goaltenders in goals-against-average, save percentage and shutouts.

After playing in his first All-Star Game, Backstrom received a four-year, $24 million contract that will begin next season.

"You don't really think about these things," Backstrom said by phone from Colorado.

"It's more you focus on your game, and try to help your team."

Backstrom is in Colorado rehabilitating from hip surgery.

Some more positive news for Backstrom and Wild fans is that the surgery showed less cartilage damage than expected and he is on track to be at full speed in three months.

"For sure, it was great news for me," Backstrom said. The initial recovery time was thought to be twice as long.

The award will be presented on June 18 at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.