No more tears: Bolts’ Ben Bishop a Vezina Trophy finalist
Maybe now the tears shed by Ben Bishop will be ones of joy.
After posting one of the best seasons in Tampa Bay Lightning history despite being cut short by injury, Bishop is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, the National Hockey League announced Friday.
Other finalists for the award given to the league’s top goaltender include Boston’s Tuuka Rask and Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov.
"Any time you can get in that category, up for the award, it’s obviously rewarding," Bishop told Bolts TV. "You put a lot of hard work into the summers, during the year. So any time you get nominated, it’s exciting. A lot of credit goes to the guys in front of me because I wouldn’t get that without them."
Bishop set franchise marks for single-season wins (37), goals-against average (2.23) save percentage (.924). He is the first Lightning nominee for the award since Daren Puppa in 1996.
Among his peers, Bishop ranked fourth in wins, tied for fourth in shutouts (5) and seventh among goals-against average and save percentage leaders.
Bishop’s season ended prematurely on April 8 against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he landed awkwardly on his left arm following a glove save. The netminder dislocated his elbow, which kept him out of Tampa Bay’s final three regular season games and its first-round sweep to the Montreal Canadiens.
"I actually started crying," Bishop said regarding the injury. "I knew that we worked all year to get here, and I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to play in the first round. It was tough. It was tough then. It was tough to watch. It was hard."
A native of Denver, Colo., Bishop earned consideration for the U.S. Olympic team following his torrid start. Only days before the Team USA roster announcement in January, Bishop had racked up 20 wins — including three win streaks of at least five games — and led his countrymen in goals-against average and save percentage.
"It’s pretty remarkable what he did, how he came through," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "When he wasn’t injured pretty much pre-Olympic break, he was an elite goaltender in this league."
Based on Friday’s announcement, Bishop still is.
Andrew Astleford contributed to this report.