Silver Nuggets: Conn Smythe Chatter

How much easier would the HHOF argument for Alfie be if he had the Conn Smythe he deserved? - USA TODAY Sports

Its that time of year again, when every blogger and columnist is running out of things to say about hockey so they write the "who is the Conn Smythe favourite?" post. Today I have a bone to pick with them.

Ah, the Conn Smythe.

In my opinion, one of the most intriguing Trophies in all of the NHL. It has this allure about it. While a player needs to play at his best (or better) for roughly 25 games (or less) to receive it, it is given much more credibility than a Hart trophy. This is of course interesting because for the Hart Trophy, there is a larger number of eligible players, and the sample size is 82 games (or 48... stupid lockout).

Regardless, no one can deny that the Conn Smythe is the most prestigious individual award in hockey. Don't believe me? How often do you hear "former Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry" or "former Hart Trophy winner Joe Thornton"? Ever? Once in a while? Now, how often do you hear "former Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards"? A little more often, especially when he is under fire.

As with many NHL awards, the Conn Smythe, in my opinion, never seems to be handed out properly. Here is the official description of the award from NHL.com:

The Conn Smythe Trophy is an annual award given to the most valuable player for his team in the playoffs. The winner is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the conclusion of the final game in the Stanley Cup finals.

Most valuable player to his team in the playoffs. If this is how the award is written, why do we follow the basketball model? In the NBA, there is a Finals MVP, and the best player on the winning team wins it every year. Since the inception of the Conn Smythe trophy in 1965, 5 times it has gone to a player on the losing team. Just five. Interesting to me is that 2 of those were in the first four years, when perhaps the spirit of the award was understood the best.

For me as an Ottawa Senators fan, this stings. In 2007 when the team lost in the Final, there was no question that if the Sens had won the Cup, Daniel Alfredsson was FAR and away the leading candidate for the Conn Smythe. On the Ducks side however, where they did it by committee, without a standout performance, people were grasping at straws. The award that year, which should have been Alfie's, went to Scott Niedermayer, an incredible hockey player and great captain. But as an offensive d-man, he had just 11 points in the playoffs, not exactly spectacular.

So this year, when you read a hundred of the same post saying "Tuukka Rask if the Bruins win, Corey Crawford or Bryan Bickell (or whomever) if the Blackhawks win!", cringe a little bit. Cringe for Alfie, and cringe for the fact that the best player in the playoffs may not be recognized just because the other team won.

Sens Links:

  • Kaspars Daugavins on the difference between the Sens and Bruins. [6thSens]
  • Nice article on how Peter Chiarelli got his start in Ottawa. [NHL]
  • The Sens have a date with the Islanders in Barrie next preseason. If any of you are in the area, could be a great chance to see the team! [Sens]
  • The Euge would like a Casino at/around Scotiabank Place. [Citizen]
  • Senators GIF of the year revealed! As if there was even a contest. [RBM]

League Links

  • One of many "Who should win Conn" articles. [TSN]
  • Happy to see the MLS follow the NHL's footsteps by partnering with You Can Play. Really excellent to see. [Outsports]
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