BY: John Mamola / 620wdae.com
The end of the NHL season is still quite a ways away as the league has to even arrive at the Sochi Olympic break as of yet. However the predictions are beginning to come in fast and furious as to who could end up as the league’s most valuable player once the season is over. And could that player be a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning?
Tampa Bay Lightning television analyst, and 2004 Stanley Cup Champion, Dave Andreychuk joined WDAE’s ‘The Sports Page’ on Wednesday and was asked if Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop could be a Hart Memorial Trophy (League MVP) candidate.
“I totally agree (that Bishop could be an MVP candidate)” said Andreychuk. “Missing four games, he didn’t miss a beat. I thought they (Lightning) did a lot better of blocking shots, and I know Jon Cooper talked about that they need a little more sacrifice on the penalty kill. All the teams in the league are doing that, but still your best penalty killer is your goaltender and he proved that again last night.”
Bishop currently ranks third in wins with 23 only behind Antti Niemi (SJ) and Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT), but is second in the league with a 1.83 GAA and leads the NHL with a .937 save percentage. The last time a goaltender won the Hart Memorial Trophy was in 2001-02 when Jose Theodore won the award as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
Andreychuk hopes that Bishop can continue his great season into what could be a a magical year for the Bolts.
“He’s just very quiet in his net where he’s not moving around a lot. He’s in position and makes the save. A lot of tough saves look routine for him. Right now he has confidence and the team has confidence in him, and hopefully he keeps it going.”