Wednesday, June 14, 2006

2006 Stanley Cup Final
Bring on the Conn Smythe candidates

It's inevitable.

One team gains a stranglehold on the NHL's deciding series, and immediately we start looking ahead, all the way to the end of the final game, Gary Bettman's postgame crowd address, the Stanley Cup being paraded around the ice and, yes, the naming of the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP.

The Globe and Mail's David Shoalts already talked to the players about who the favourites are, and he's right: Rod Brind'Amour has the lead.

As is the case every year, whichever players become media darlings have a better chance to win. Players who may have put up big statistics or scored key goals but aren't as 'sexy' (re: story-worthy) a pick (hello Cory Stillman) will have a much tougher time winning the Professional Hockey Writers' Association members' votes (and the $10,000 U.S. award that comes along with the prize).

As for the odds, here's my best guestimate:
  1. Brind'Amour. Chance he'll win: 63%
    The case: Leads NHL in goals (12) and game-winning goals (4). Team's captain has averaged more than 24 minutes per game. Well-respected workhorse has a lot of friends around the league and has been around forever.

  2. Cam Ward. Chance he'll win: 18%
    The case: His numbers are fantastic (2.01 GAA, .924 save percentage), especially when looking only at the final (1.76 GAA, .939 save percentage). His story as the next in a line of rookie goalies to lead their team to the Cup (along with Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy) will work in his favour. Ward has garnered a ton of ink this postseason.

  3. Cory Stillman. Chance he'll win: 10%
    The case: Has been 'Canes best player in the last two rounds (15 points in 11 games), but continues to get far less press than some of his more heralded teammates (as well as half of the Oilers team).

  4. Someone from the Oilers. Chance they'll win: 7%
    The case: About the same chance as they have at winning the series.

  5. Eric Staal. Chance he'll win: 2%
    The case: He's fallen off since posting 20 points in a 15 game streak. Given his huge breakout season and relatively unremarkable personality, the media may be a tad Staal-ed out. (Just wait until there are four of them.)


At 10:12 a.m., June 14, 2006, Blogger jmol2112 said...

I believe at this point its Brind'Amour's to lose. If the Canes win the Cup, he wins the MVP.
Outside of a triple OT shut out win, 70 save performance tonight by Ward, there should be no doubt who will get the award.


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