At the beginning of the 2011-2012 NHL playoffs, fans knew that they were going to be in for a treat as a total of 16 teams were set to do battle and leave it all on this ice in hopes of raising Lord Stanley’s Cup. What started off as a 16 team tournament is now down to just four teams, the Los Angeles Kings, the Phoenix Coyotes, the New Jersey Devils, and the New York Rangers. Out of all of the teams that participated in this tournament, these four teams, led by some of the best hockey players in the world are ready to attempt to achieve history and be crowned victors and have their names carved into the history books.
Obviously without these players, these teams would be nothing. It takes a special breed of not only talent, but also chemistry to have success in the NHL. The Conn Smythe Trophy is handed out each postseason to the player who is viewed “most valuable player to their respected team throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.” Many great players have held this award. Many different players such as Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and most recently, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins have been awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. This trophy is one of the most prestigious awards in all of professional hockey as it exemplifies true greatness out of the player that is given the award.
This year is no different. However, this year might be one of the hardest years to judge who is going to win. There have been many great players that have been showing off their tremendous athletic ability as they are giving it their all to make sure their team has a chance to be crowned champions. Players like Braden Holtby and Pekka Rinne gave their team a great opportunity to survive the brutality and intensity of a NHL playoff game, while players such as Dustin Brown and IIya Kovachuk provided much needed offense for their teams when it mattered most. Unfortunately, I cannot pick all of the players in the postseason to be nominated for the Conn Smythe Trophy. In a very tough decision, I have narrowed my list down to three nominees. Below I will list the three players who I believe deserve a nomination for the trophy, followed by who I think should win the trophy.
At the beginning of the postseason the Los Angeles Kings entered with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. Opening the playoffs on the road against the defending Presidents’ Trophy winners, Vancouver Canucks would certainly be no easy task. However, with great team play, the Kings, led by goaltender Jonathan Quick, quickly proved to everyone that they were serious contenders for the cup. Quick started off the series brilliantly as he made 24 saves on 26 save attempts. He continued to play hot as he went onto blank Vancouver in game three and allowed only two goals in the next two games combined. After defeating the Canucks in five games, the Kings quickly shifted their attention to the number two seeded St. Louis Blues. Knowing that he again would have to step up, Quick went onto play a fantastic series allowing only five goals in the series as the Kings swept the Blues. Now the Kings are in an unfamiliar spot, the Western Conference Finals. Again, Quick is playing like he is the best goaltender in the world, allowing an astonishing three goals in four games. If Jonathan Quick continues to play that he has been, not only would he be a for sure nominee and possible favorite to win the trophy, but the Kings will also have a tremendous shot at winning what would be their very first Stanley Cup Trophy.
The New York Rangers entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs as heavy favorites to win the Stanley Cup. . During the regular season Lundqvist was nominated for the Hart Trophy which is given out to the most valuable player in the league. With offensive players like Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan providing points for the team, the Rangers needed strong play out of their goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and they got just that. Lundqvist help the team survive two very long and tiring series as they were forced to go to a game seven not only in the first round but in the second round as well. The play of Lundqvist definitely has helped bailout New York as the team played poor in a couple of postseason performances. If it wasn’t for Henrik, who knows where this team would be right now? He has made countless jaw dropping saves time and time again while he continuously gives the Rangers a chance to stay competitive. It isn’t even a question that the Rangers are definitely going to need big play out of Lundqvist against a very good New Jersey Devils team if they want to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
3: Dustin Brown
Dustin Brown started of the regular season not to hot and by the time the trade deadline was approaching, Brown’s name continued to pop up in trade rumors around the league. Now with the Stanley Cup Playoffs in full effect, Brown has the chance to not only put the Kings in a great position to win the cup, but to also earn recognition for the Conn Smythe Award. Dustin Brown has definitely been a constant for the Kings in the playoffs. Brown brings certain toughness to this team that no other player can bring. Not only has he helped the team in the toughness department, he has also provided a spark in the offense, contributing for 15 points in 13 games. At more than a point a game, Brown has helped the Kings offense in the playoffs, as he has a great opportunity to continue to make a name for himself.
Winner: Jonathan Quick
Before I tell you why I believe he is the winner, I’d like to give credit to not only all of the teams in the playoffs, but also every single player that has helped made these playoffs a memorable one for us fans.
Now onto why I believe Quick should be announced the winner of the Conn Smythe trophy. Without him the Kings definitely wouldn’t be in the situation they are in now. With only one more victory needed to move onto the Stanley Cup Finals, the team’s confidence is through the roof. A large part of their success has to do with the outstanding play from Jonathan Quick. His tremendous athletic ability and pure giftedness at the goaltender position is unseen anywhere else. With his unique set of skills in between the pipes, the Kings have become one of the biggest postseason surprises in quite some time. They have an astonishing record on 11-2 in this postseason and a large part of that is due to the play of what is now a star goaltender in this league, Jonathan Quick.
Just so everyone is clear on this, these are not the official nominations and winner. These are just my opinions on who deserves to be the three nominated players and who I think will be awarded the trophy. I would love to see your feedback on who you think the nominations and winner will be and why you think that.
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Tags: Bobby Orr Braden Holtby Conn Smythe Trophy Dustin Brown Hart Tophy Henrik Lundqvist IIya Kovachuk Jonathan Quick. Los Angeles Kings Mario Lemieux New Jersey Devils New York Rangers Nhl Playoffs Pekka Rinne Phoenix Coyotes Presidents Cup St Louis Blues Tim Thomas Wayne Gretzky