NHL notes: NHL names Vezina nominees

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy. (Tony Caldwell/QMI...

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy. (Tony Caldwell/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:29 PM ET

Theoretically, playoff performance means nothing in voting for the Vezina award.

But all three goaltenders nominated for the award Wednesday still have a chance to win the Stanley Cup this year.

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators were named finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender. None of the three has won the Vezina before.

Lundqvist helped the Rangers to first place in the Eastern Conference, going 39-18-5 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. He was third in the league with eight shutouts.

"He is the backbone of our team, always has been," Rangers coach John Tortorella told Newsday. "He is one of the strongest competitors that I've seen as an athlete. Sometimes as a goalie, you don't see it. With him, you do."

Quick had a franchise-record 10 shutouts in posting a 35-21-13 record. His 1.95 GAA was second in the league.

Rinne, a finalist for the Vezina for the second consecutive year, went 43-18-8 with a 2.39 GAA and .923 save percentage.

CLEARY GUTTED IT OUT

Detroit Red Wings forward Dan Clearly played through broken ribs and a painful knee injury this season.

Cleary told MLive.com that he broke ribs in training camp then gutted out a knee injury that will require surgery. He still managed to play 75 games but dipped in offensive production with 12 goals and 21 assists.

"They'll know more when they get in there, you know?" Cleary said of his wonky left knee. "There are a lot of different things in there. There are some tears in there, loose cartilage, some bone on bone, a lot of fluid -- the build-up of fluid was a major issue, so (I'm) hoping that we can get it resolved.

"I going to get the surgery done and hopefully just rehab it. Just have to go in and have surgery on it then just get on a maintenance program and it will be fine."

Cleary is expected to have the surgery done next week.

CANADA ADDS TWO

Defenceman Duncan Keith and forward Patrick Sharp will play for Canada at the world championship next month in Helsinki, Finland.

The two Chicago Blackhawks agreed to join the Canadian team Wednesday, leaving just two vacant roster spots -- one forward and one defenceman. General manager Kevin Lowe expects to fill the spots before Canada plays two exhibition games later this week in Zurich, Switzerland.

Canada opens the world championship May 4 against Slovakia.


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