With a maximum of 2 games left in the Stanley Cup Finals, it’s about time that we looked at some potential candidates for the Conn Smythe trophy. We’ve listed the Top 5 candidates for this year’s playoff MVP. Just remember, it’s not just the finals: it’s the entire playoffs. Please be sure to take each and every one of the “cons” into consideration for each player. We know that all of these players are good– so it might be one of these negative attributes that makes the difference.
Pros: Malkin is having a historic postseason this spring. He’s the playoff leader in assists (21) and points (35); not to mention he’s 2nd in goals with 14. If the entire point of hockey is to put the biscuit in the basket, he’s doing it better than anyone else. His multiple point games are the things that legends are made of—or at least Wayne Gretzky.
Cons: The guy’s mom gets more airtime than he does! Honestly, I’m kind of sick of seeing her in the stands every game and hearing about his pregame soup. How can he win playoff MVP when his Mom gets more love? I think that Penguin fans are starting to like Malkin’s Mom—the cute older parents watching their son thrive on the biggest stage. It’s a nice story. I preferred to watch Crosby’s Dad in the crowd in Game 5.
Pros: Sidney Crosby has captained the Penguins to their 2nd straight Stanley Cup Finals appearance. This season, he’s potted 15 goals to lead all players in the NHL, so he’s going to get consideration. He’s 2nd in postseason scoring (behind only Malkin) and through the first couple of rounds he was undoubtedly the best player on the Penguins. Just like it was good publicity for Gretzky to win the Conn Smythe award in the 1980’s, it would be good for the “new face” of the NHL to win now. Most importantly, it would be a better excuse to get him to the awards show than the Mark Messier Leadership Award that he was nominated for. Somewhere Mike Richards is poking his Messier Voodoo doll.
Cons: The sight of his face makes the entire population of Michigan vomit a little bit in their mouth. And the greater Philadelphia area too, now that I think of it. We can’t have thousands of people (maybe millions) throwing up when the Conn Smythe award is presented. It’s just bad publicity. How would Gary Bettman swing that? Maybe something like, “we just partnered up with TUMS and we thought this would be a great way to kick off our marketing campaign!”
Pros: His 2.00 GAA is the 2nd best in the playoffs. Obviously, his 15 wins are leading the league this season. Isn’t the point of a goaltender: stop the puck and win games? Stanley Cup champion goaltenders always warrant consideration for the Conn Smythe. Without good goaltending, no team is going to do anything—it’s the only position that can UNDO great play by the 18 skaters on the ice.
Cons: He’s still Chris Osgood. He could have 16 straight shutouts in the playoffs and his critics would say it’s because the team in front of him is so good. Whether its fact or perception, pundits say that he’s the weak link of the team. Since this is a subjective award– subjective opinions and preconceived notions are two enormous hurdles for Osgood. Please don’t let any of the facts get in the way. Besides, it would really be weird for Opie Taylor to win the Conn Smythe…
Pros: He’s 3rd in scoring and 4th in assists for the playoffs. Not only does Detroit depend on Zetterberg to be one of their best offensive players, but they’ve depended on him to shut down the opponent’s top lines. Just take a look at the guys that he’s gone up against: Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby. While facing guys like these night in and night out, he’s 2nd in the playoffs in plus/minus this spring. There’s no way the Red Wings are in this position without the spectacular 2-way play of Zetterberg. If Detroit wins and the powers-that-be decide that the world wouldn’t spin off its axis if a Red Wing is recognized, Zetterberg would be the favorite.
Cons: A huge negative working against Zetterberg is that he became the first Swede to every win the Conn Smythe last season. In addition to that, Niklas Lidstrom became the first Swede to captain a Stanley Cup champion. Can you imagine if he won back-to-back Conn Smythe trophies for Sweden? It would be the biggest thing since ABBA! Nobel prizes are definitely more their speed. I’m not sure any country could handle that, let alone a Scandinavian one!
Pros: Through the 1st three rounds of the playoffs, the Mule had to be on the short list for playoff MVP candidates. He’s still 3rd in playoff goals and 4th in points. He carried the offensive load in the tough 7 game series against the Ducks in the 2nd round and has shown that the Red Wings were onto something when they signed him to an 11 year deal.
Cons: I’m not sure that the NHL is ready to crown a Socialist Mule as the playoff MVP. Do I really need any more Cons than that?
Honorable Mention From Each Team
Detroit Red Wings: Dan Cleary. He scored more BIG goals than anyone else through the first few rounds of the playoffs. Any Ducks fans that were watching Game 7 of their series would happily throw him off the roof of The Pond if they had the chance. Unfortunately, he’s from Newfoundland. Getting a Cup is hard enough for those guys—don’t be greedy.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury. He’s backstopped the Penguins to their 2nd consecutive Stanley Cup Finals berth. He played well in Game 7 against the Capitals and… well… ok, not even I can do this. I heard ONE person arguing for this and I could barely contain my laughter. If it weren’t for Fleury—the Penguins would be EXACTLY where they are WITH him!