Thanks to THN for the great top 10. :thumbsup:
Since it was first awarded to the post-season MVP in 1965, the Conn
Smythe Trophy has stood as a symbol of excellence in the NHL’s most pressure-packed situations. And when either of Rod Brind’Amour, Cory Stillman, or Chris Pronger clutches it to his chest in the next few days, he will join an elite group of players.
For THN.com’s final top 10 list of the ’05-06 playoffs, we honor two handfuls of the more memorable Conn Smythe recipients, in no particular order:
1. Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens, 1964-65 Beliveau, the classiest man ever to grace the NHL, put up eight goals and sixteen points as a 33-year-old to help Montreal oust the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games. The league couldn’t have handpicked a better inaugural winner of the trophy than Beliveau, a Canadian icon and national treasure.
2. Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers, 1973-74 Remember when Flyers goalies used to help them win Stanley Cups? Parent sure does. The first NHLer to win back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies, Parent took home his first MVP honor on the strength of a 12-5 post-season record and 2.02 goals-against average as he led Philly to their first of two straight Cup wins.
3. Claude Lemieux, New Jersey Devils, 1994-95 The Devils’ home state is infamous for its wealth of toxins, but none were anywhere near as corrosive as Lemieux, who had 13 goals and 16 points in 20 games to power the Devils to the first Cup in franchise history. Lemieux was as popular as a sexually transmitted disease in most NHL cities, but Jersey residents always will have a soft spot for him – as will fans in Montreal and Colorado, where he also won championships.
4. Butch Goring, New York Islanders, 1980-81 It’s not often a guy who won the Lady Byng Trophy goes on to win the Conn Smythe, but that’s exactly what happened to Goring. The one-time L.A. King – who had 10 goals and 20 points in the 1981 playoffs – was integral to the Islanders dynasty, which had four straight championship seasons in the early 1980s.
5. Patrick Roy, Montreal Canadiens, 1992-93 Parent was the first man to win back-to-back playoff MVP awards, and Roy, another Quebec-born goalie, was the first to win three Conn Smythe Trophies. This was Roy’s second such honor – and last with the Canadiens, who dealt him to Colorado less than three seasons later.
6. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, 2002-03 Sure, casual NHL fans saw Giguere’s liberal use of goalie padding and thought J-S stood for “Jumbo-Sized”. But there was a reason the Conn Smythe went to Giguere despite his team’s seven-game loss to New Jersey in the final. His efforts (1.62 GAA, .945 save percentage) as the driving force behind Anaheim’s improbable elimination of Detroit, Dallas and Minnesota that post-season had something to do with it.
7. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers, 1984-85 How could we leave The Great One off this list? Gretzky’s other-worldly accomplishment in the ’85 playoffs – which earned him the first of two career Conn Smythe Trophies – included 47 points (17 goals and 30 assists) in just 18 games. That is a league record that has yet to be broken. His last Conn Smythe came three years later, when he set another still-standing NHL record for playoff assists with 31.
8. Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins, 1969-70 After nearly doubling his regular-season total to a whopping 120 points in ’69-70, Orr was just as dominant in the post-season. His nine-goal, 20-point output landed him his first Conn Smythe and capped off a year in which he also won (a) the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer; (b) the Norris Trophy as top defenseman; and (c) the Hart Trophy as regular-season MVP. That’s four individual awards in the same year. And you young whippersnappers wonder why Orr is held in such high esteem…
9. Ron Hextall, Philadelphia Flyers, 1986-87 Aside from his ferocious temper, Hextall was famous for a couple of reasons: for starters, he was the first goalie to score a goal in the playoffs (against Washington in 1989); more importantly, he won the Conn Smythe playing on a team that didn’t win the Cup (the Flyers fell to Edmonton that year). Hextall, recently named assistant GM of the Kings, did it all for the Flyers as a rookie in ’87, winning the Vezina Trophy for his regular-season work.
10. Scott Stevens, New Jersey Devils, 1999-2000 Stevens, whose legendary stare could make Samuel L. Jackson wet himself with fear, took MVP honors mainly for his defense and intimidation. The then-defending champion Dallas Stars were no match for the Devils or Stevens, who assisted on Jason Arnott’s Cup-clinching goal in Game 6.