Win or Lose, MVP of Playoffs Could Easily Be a Cap

Posted May 25, 2018

If you’ve followed the Stanley Cup playoffs to the bitter end, sans the Washington Capitals year after year, you may be familiar with another ornate piece of hardware awarded at the very end of the final series.  The Conn Smythe Trophy is given to the most valuable player, MVP, of the playoffs – even if that player is on the losing team, which has happened five times.

This prestigious award was introduced in 1964 by Maple Leaf Gardens Limited to honor Conn Smythe, the former owner, General Manager, and coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder.  It is a lavish trophy that displays a silver replica of Maple Leaf Gardens, the arena built under Smythe’s ownership. Backing the arena replica is a large silver botanically-accurate maple leaf. This is set atop a square wooden foundation, the front of which bares leaf-shaped plates inscribed with the winners’ names.

Center Jean Béliveau of the Montreal Canadiens was the first recipient of the Conn Smythe in 1965. Since then, many outstanding players have taken home the trophy.   Players who have historically been household names to hockey fans such as Bobby Orr (the first player and only defenseman to win it twice), Wayne Gretzky (twice), Mario Lemieux (twice) and Patrick Roy (three times) have been recognized for their outstanding performance and contribution to their team during the playoffs.  More recently, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Henrik Zetterberg are among the active players recognized.  Former Capital, Justin Williams, took home the trophy in 2014 when he played for Los Angeles Kings.  For the past two seasons, the trophy has gone home with Sidney Crosby — but not this year.

Conspicuously absent from the long list of recipients is a player from the Washington Capitals.  Will this be the year one of Caps walks away with Conn Smythe Trophy?  Could Alexander Ovechkin receive yet another centrepiece for his dining room table?  Could Braden Holtby receive a bookend to compliment his Vezina Trophy? And let’s not forget Evgeny Kuznetsov, who leads the NHL in playoff scoring.

Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights certainly have players who stand out, but not to the same extent as Ovi, Kuzy and Holtby have for the Caps in these playoffs.

Come on Caps, let’s win the Stanley Cup and get a name on this MVP list of talented, memorable players.  It’s your turn. You deserve it.  It’s our time.

Let’s Go Caps!