Thomas completes NHL trifecta

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas poses with the Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies during the NHL Awards...

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas poses with the Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies during the NHL Awards at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, June 22, 2011. (BRUCE BENNETT/Getty Images/AFP)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:54 PM ET

LAS VEGAS - Tim Thomas, the self-branded "redneck of goaltending," was surrounded by silver Wednesday night.

The Boston Bruins goaltender joined an exclusive club when, for the second time in three years, he won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender. Thomas is just the second goaltender to win the Vezina, the Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) and the Stanley Cup in the same year.

When his name was called, the only other guy in the exclusive club went on Twitter.

"Congratulating Tim Thomas welcome to the club," tweeted former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent, who turned the trick two years in a row, 1974 and '75.

"That's the stuff I really enjoy hearing more than anything else," said Thomas, whose face lit up when told of Parent's tweet. "It's amazing that he did it two years in a row. I'm going to try and do something similar."

That Thomas found himself sitting between the Vezina and Smythe trophies -- with the Stanley Cup somewhere else in the building -- is a story of a 37-year-old man overcoming injury, surgery and self doubt to pull himself back to the summit of the game.

Last year he had lost his job with the Bruins to Tuukka Rask and then underwent surgery on his hip in the off-season.

Thomas had no idea if he would be able to play at the level he had when he won his first Vezina following the 2008-09 season.

"I had a pretty good idea early in camp I could play at a level high enough to play in the NHL," said Thomas, "and earn my own self respect back."

It is certainly a special story and a tribute to Thomas that he could be that deep in a hole just nine months ago and find himself sitting among those trophies, tributes to both his individual and team success, Wednesday night.

"The first time was pretty special because of how far I had come. It looked unattainable," said Thomas, who toiled in Europe and the minors before getting a shot with the Bruins. "This one is just as special, but special in a different way after last year and everything that happened this year.

"The Stanley Cup is the biggest goal and since we won that, my mind has been focusing on that one and not the individual awards."

After his surgery, Thomas threw himself into a rehab and workout program that drained him.

"I was doing three workouts a day and was pretty much exhausted all the time, but I pretty much knew that's what it would take," he said. "It's a story of putting in the work and it will pay off."

Thomas' .938 save percentage this season was the best in the NHL since they started keeping the stat, eclipsing the .937 mark put up by Dominik Hasek with the Buffalo Sabres in 1998-99. The stat was introduced in 1976-77.

Thomas also led the NHL in goals-against average and was second in shutouts.

Thomas's aggressive, challenging style was questioned by Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo during the final after Thomas gave up the only goal in Game 5, but Thomas wouldn't bite on a question about the Vezina validating his style.

"I think every goalie has to find their own style. I don't think my style is the perfect style by any means, but it works for me. You've got to take the tools that you have and make it work," said Thomas. "I'm kind of like the redneck of goaltending that duct tapes everything together. You give a redneck a job and they're going to use whatever is available to do the job."

He did the job and did it better than anyone else.

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NHL Awards winners

The 2010-11 NHL season came to a close Wednesday night with the awarding of the league's silverware for top individual performances.

And the winners were...

Hart Trophy

Winner: Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

Perry, who had a spectacular finish to his season to help the Ducks make the playoffs, beat ou Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks and Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Perry received 67 first-place votes on the 126 ballots cast while Sedin had 51 first-place votes. Pekke Rinne of Nashville, Tim Thomas of Boston, Carey Price of Montreal, Ryan Kelser of Vancouver, Marc-Andre Fleury of Pittsburgh and Roberto Luongo of Vancouver were the other players to get at least one first-place vote.

Vezina Trophy

Winner: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins

Thomas won his second Vezina Trophy in three seasons. Thomas was named on 26 of the 30 ballots, which makes you wonder who were the four general managers in the NHL who didn't think Thomas was among at least the top three goaltenders in the league. Voting was based on a 1-2-3 system. Thomas got 17 first-place votes, five seconds and four thirds.

Norris Trophy

Winner: Nik Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

His seventh Norris ties him for second-most with former Habs great Doug Harvey, one behind Bobby Orr.

Brian Campbell (Chicago), Dan Hamuis (Vancouver), Andrej Meszaros (Philadelphia), Tyler Myers (Buffalo) and Marc Staal (N.Y. Rangers) all received votes. Go figure.

Selke Trophy

Winner: Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks

He was a landslide winner with 105 first-place votes, beating out Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blalckhawks and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings.

Among the other players receiving at least one first-place vote were Patrice Bergeron (Boston), Manny Malhotra (Vancouver), David Backes (St. Louis), Mike Richards (Philadelphia), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia) and Michael Grabner (N.Y. Islanders).

Jack Adams Award

Winner: Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins

Bylsma won his first coach of the year award, beating out Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks and Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators, who was third in the voting. Bylsma helped the Penguins to a fourth-place finish in the East despite not having stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the second half of the year. Finishing fourth was Guy Boucher (Tampa).

Calder Trophy

Winner: Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes

The 18-year-old, the seventh pick in last year's draft, pulled in 71 first-place votes and had 1,055 points compared to 41 first-place votes and 908 points for San Jose's Logan Couture, who finished second in the balloting. Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders was third while goaltender Corey Crawford of Chicago (six) and defenceman John Carlson of Washington (three) also received first-place votes.

Lady Byng Trophy

Winner: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

St. Louis won his second Lady Byng in a row, more than doubling runnerup Nik Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings in voting points (994-464). St. Louis had 70 first-place votes to Lidstrom's 22 in balloting for the award that recognizing the player who best combines sportsmanship and a high level of performance. Lidstrom finished as the runner-up for the fifth time. Both players had only two minor penalties this season.

Ted Lindsay Award

Winner: Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Sedin scooped up the award that might be the most valued individual award among the players because it is voted on by their peers. Sedin beat out Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Formerly the Lester B. Pearson Award, it has recognized the league's outstanding player as selected by the players since 1970-71.

NHL General Manager of the Year Award

Winner: Mike Gillis, Vancouver Canucks

Another member of the Canucks who will have to be satisfied with an individual award after coming up one game short of winning the Stanley Cup. Gillis had 14 of the 30 first-place votes, beating out rookie GM Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Lightning and David Poile of the Nashville Predators.

Boston's Peter Chiarelli, whose moves helped the Bruins win the Cup, got two first-place votes.

Bill Masterton Memorial Award

Winner: Ian Laperriere, Philadelphia Flyers

Laperriere took a slap shot in the face in the playoffs last year and showed how badly players want to play in the Stanley Cup final when he returned -- when he probably shouldn't have -- to play for the Flyers. He missed all of last season.

Laperierre topped the voting ahead of Calgary's Daymond Langkow and Ray Emery of the Anaheim Ducks.

Mark Messier Leadership Award

Winner: Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

The big defenceman was recognized for his work as the leader of the Bruins and his charitable work with the award from the former NHL great. "Getting this is a huge honour. I'm very proud," said Chara. Messier mentioned Chara's work with Right to Play, which creates opportunities for kids in developing countries to experience the benefits of participating in sports.

King Clancy Trophy

Winner: Doug Weight of the New York Islanders was recognized as "the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice and who has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community."

NHL Foundation Player Award

Winner: Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings, was recognized for using hockey's core values for the betterment of his community. Along with his wife, Brown started the Dustin and Nicole Brown Charitable Fund to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged youths in Los Angeles and his home town of Ithaca, N.Y.

Statistics-based winners

Art Ross Trophy

Winner: Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks -- Was the league's leading scorer.

Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy

Winner: Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks -- Led the league with 50 goals.

Jennings Trophy

Winners: Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks -- Allowed the fewest goals.


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