Blog Entry

The case for the Conn

Posted on: June 7, 2010 4:23 pm

Did Chris Pronger blow his chance for the playoff MVP award with one bad night in Game 5? Okay so it was a really miserable night on both a personal and a team level, one that prompted him to say “Thanks for reminding me” to a reporter who rattled off his stats after it was over.

Until Philadelphia’s pivotal loss in Chicago, the big Flyers defenseman had generally been considered the frontrunner for the Conn Smythe Trophy regardless of whether his team ends up as Stanley Cup champions. There is historical precedent for awarding the individual prize to a member of the losing team after all.  In fact the award has gone to a member of the losing team five times, and two of them -- Reggie Leach in 1976 and Ron Hextall in 1987 – were with the Flyers. So there would be a strong case to be made on behalf of Pronger even if Philadelphia fails to pull off another comeback.

Pronger really has been that good throughout the playoffs and certainly he has been the most dominant individual force in the Final. Equally important, he has consistently been the best and most entertaining quote, a factor not to be dismissed since the voting will be done by writers.

Still all bets are off after Game 5 when the Blackhawks developed a strategy to counteract Pronger’s impact by splitting their top unit over three lines. The result was a 7-4 Chicago win over Philadelphia, with Pronger being on the ice for six Blackhawks goals and in the penalty box for the seventh. Overall Pronger was minus-5 on the night, although his coach insisted that was a result of a collective, rather than an individual failing.

“When we're successful, we do it as team, when we lose and we have a night that's tougher, we do it as a team,” Peter Laviolette said. “The minus 5's, are they all (Pronger’s) fault?  No. The whole group needs to be better.”

No kidding.

Of course Philadelphia can still turn this series around, because, well, that’s what the Flyers tend to do when their backs are against the wall. By now you are certainly well aware of the Philadelphia story of adversity reversal that began with its shootout on the final day to get into the playoffs and progressed into a recovery from a 3-0 series deficit against Boston in which it trailed 3-0 in Game 7. And if the Flyers manage to rebound again against Chicago, which will require winning the finale in the Windy City, Game 5 will be forgotten and Pronger’s name will be front and center when it comes time to vote for the playoff MVP.

But there are other candidates from the Flyers who should be in the running if they do win. And obviously there will be some from the Blackhawks if they managed to capture hockey’s biggest prize.

Here’s a look at who they are likely to be:

Duncan Keith: He is likely to win the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman and he has continued to be a dominant force along the blue line in the post season. Keith has been playing about 28 minutes a game, he kills penalties, quarterbacks the power play and triggers the quick breakouts that made Chicago effective. And Keith is fourth on the team in scoring.

Jonathan Toews: Much like Pronger, the 22-year-old Chicago captain was a frontrunner, and arguably the leading Smythe candidate coming into the Final after leading all playoff scorers through the first three rounds. Toews has lost much of his luster in this series in large part because Pronger was so effective in shutting him and his linemates down for the first four games, although Toews still tops the scoring chart. But he has contributed in several other ways and his leadership on a young team cannot be underestimated.

Dustin Byfuglien:  Byfuglien is Chicago’s top physical force and made life miserable for opposing goalies through the first three rounds with his net presence, but he also managed to come up with several big goals. The much-anticipated mano-a-mano matchup with Pronger didn’t materialize in the first four games of the series, but Byfuglien erupted in Game 5 when he flattened Pronger with one of his nine hits and had two goals including the winner. He has five game winners in the post season.

Danny Briere:  The little center with the big chip on his shoulder has finally given the Flyers their money’s worth for the big contract they gave him a couple of years back. Briere was moved back to his natural center position when Jeff Carter was hurt, and he has anchored what has been the best line for Philadelphia and arguably anyone throughout the playoffs. He is second in playoff scoring overall with 27 points and his 11 goals include four game winners.

Mike Richards: Much like Toews, the Flyers captain has been a heart-and-soul type of leader for the Flyers, not to mention one of their most productive players. He’s kept his focus squarely on the big prize despite having to face the media almost every day and playing in more than 110 games this season, counting pre-season and the Olympics, and has 23 points, including a couple of the most memorable goals of the playoffs.

Darkhorse candidates: Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux and Ville Leino; Chicago’s Dave Bolland and Antti Niemi.


Category: NHL

Since: Nov 3, 2009
Posted on: June 8, 2010 3:49 pm

The case for the Conn

I think any team who goes this far in their respective sport gets a few bandwagon fans, I'm sure there are some out in Philly as well.   As far as I'm concerned the more support, the better. 

As someone pointed out previously, I'm not so sure that the fans are "bandwagon fans", but rather "returning fans".   Bill Wirtz pissed a lot of people off and they boycotted the hawks.   I sometimes wish those days were back, I could go to a game for $5, and sit just about anywhere I wanted.   Watching fans and old players return over the past few seasons under new management has been fun, and an insanely quick turn around for a franchise that was ranked I believe dead last in that ESPN franchize rankings, or at least near the bottom in all of sports..

The only thing I can say to antietam is that you should get used to Chicago fans, because this team is very young and very tallented and will remain a strong team over the next several years.  

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: June 8, 2010 3:35 pm

The case for the Conn

Hello  to  all  hockey  fans ! This  is  the best  Cup  finals  in  a  long  time ! I  mean , no  Cindy  Crosby , no  Swede National  team ( Detriot ) , it's  HOCKEY   AGAIN ! Now , you  people  come  on a  say  " Philly  this " , and  "  Hawks  that " ,  I'll  tell  you  this , from  a  fan  of  hockey , who  roots  for  the  Leafs , and  Buffalo , it's  the  Hawks  time  this  season . Philly  is  putting  up  a  fight , but , they  can't  win  on  Chigaco . Some  of  you  are  saying " in  game 7 , anything  can  happen " , that's  true . But , it's  not  going  that  far , game  6 , it's  all  over  for  Cinderella  Philly . I  don't  mean  that in  a  bad  way , it's  only  go  so  far , then  the  dream  is  over  and  you  wake  up . Well , that's  what  going  on  for  the  Phillys , when  they  made  the  playoffs . You  have  to  remember  that  the Bruins  are  not  that  good , and  they  didn't  make  the  playoffs  until  the  last  week  of  the  regular  season . They  beat  Buffalo , but  , come  on , in  the  regular  season  is   one  thing , but  the   playoffs  are  a  different  thing . Buffalo  only  wanted  to  make  the  playoffs , that's it . Montreal ? Come  on , another  team  that  didn't  make  it  till  the  last  week  of the  regular  season . It  wasn't  like  they  had  to  beat  the  top  3  teams  to  get  in  the  finals , and  the  East  Conference  isn't  that  deep  either . If  you  look  at  who  the  Hawks  beat  to  get  here , that's  some  teams  that  they  beat . It  was  a  good  fight , but  the  Philly  team  was  only  dreaming , and  it's  time  to  wake  up . On Wed, . you  will  see the  Cup  being  raised  over  the  champs  shoulders  and  head  and  see  the  chamions  skating  around  the  rink , kissing  the Cup , AND  SAYING , " WE'RE  # 1 " . I  think  the  Conn  trophy  will be  given  to  Toews  too . Pronger  doesn't  belong  in  that  group . Especially  after  game  5  . In  the first  2  games , he  wasn't  doing  anything  either . It  was  only  after  the  games  went  to  Philly  that  he  did  something .

Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: June 8, 2010 3:21 pm

The case for the Conn

Blackhawks end the Flyers season on Wednesday and then the Philly fans can watch another Eagles season end without a Super Bowl.
The Flyers are a gutty team, but the 'hawks will prove too much to handle.

Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: June 8, 2010 2:55 pm
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Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: June 8, 2010 2:51 pm
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Since: Feb 28, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2010 2:50 pm

The case for the Conn

If "ifs" were fifths we'd all be drunk.  If the Hawks didn't ding 2 or 3 off the post in game 3 it would have been a different game...see it's stupid sounding to say if they would have executed on their chances it would have been different.  The fact is they didn't, part of the game.  Also concerning game 5, the fact is everytime the Flyers tried to get back in the game the Hawks scored again.  Yes Philli scored 4 goals the last 2 periods but so did the Blackhawks.

Great point. If I can recall back to a previous, Big Buff came in from the point in the overtime period and drained the OT winner. If you recall to game three Versteeg had a similar opportunity in the overtime period and sent it just over the crossbar. He drains that shot, then there is no talk about the Flyers coming back because then the series would have been 3-0 in favor of the Blackhawks.

The Flyers are playing terrific hockey and are playing similar to Dave Bolland. Frustrating the crap out of the Hawks. This has been a gritty chess-match with the home team prevailing each time. Before the series went back to Philadelphia Mike Milbury said we shouldn't worry about anything until someone loses on their home ice. Which in this series has been the deciding factor. Whether or not the Flyers can hold of the Hawks in game 6 is irrelevant. They still need to find a way to win on the road (which has been difficult and damn near impossible this series).

I am looking forward to seeing fast paced, high flying hockey tomorrow night. I will be on the edge of my seat the entire game (just like I have been for the entire series). I hope both teams show up and play their best so we can stop the debate over who is the better team. Fans should relish in the fact that their team is in the Stanley Cup Final and that both cities are putting on a great show.

PS... even though this has no room in this debate in regards to   saying the Cubs haven't won in 102 years (which is pathetic, and I am not a Cubs fan) but I do recall the Philadelphia Phillies being the first franchise in any sport to amass 10,000 losses. 

Since: Jun 8, 2010
Posted on: June 8, 2010 2:48 pm

The case for the Conn

You see nothing because the flyers eyes look like Rocky Balboa after the beating in game 5 ........stick a fork in them the Flyers are done baby !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Jan 12, 2010
Posted on: June 8, 2010 2:42 pm

The case for the Conn

All of you Philly fans need to stop being so cocky and brash.

Your amazing Flygirls BARELY made the playoffs. (Comments??..I mean, you needed an overtime win in the last game to make the playoffs..if your team is soooo amazing, how the hell did they suck their way into a barely made 7 seed???..Here come the excuses...

They have been OVERACHIEVING more than any hockey team I have ever seen in the playoffs. They are a mediocre team riding a hot streak. Thats it. They are not the best team in hockey. Winning a Cup would be a laughing matter...Team sucks all year and wins the Cup??..Nah, that story kinda sucks. Hawks wont let that happen.

You really think your team is better than the Hawks?..Who finished 2nd in the West and SWEPT the best team in hockey last series??..Your 2 wins at home were a fluke. Wednesday night the Hawks will hoist the Cup on your home ice.

Keep complaining about your 'missed chances' and 'bad officiating'. The fact is, your team is not as good as the Hawks. Plain and simple. I mean, your crappy goalie has been pulled TWICE already this series. And your big bad Pronger just got his ass worked. Or wait maybe you guys can complain about the below average ice conditions in Chicago some more...because yeah the Hawks werent playing on the same ice..hahahaha..shitty teams with their shitty excuses.


All of the pressure is on the Flygirls to win at home. Im thinking they cant handle it. HAWKS 2010 STANLEY CUP CHAMPS....FLYGIRLS BACK TO MEDIOCRITY IN 2010-2011.


Since: Dec 15, 2009
Posted on: June 8, 2010 2:02 pm

The case for the Conn

Pronger has no chance for the Con Smythe.  Even if the Flyers win, there is no way the writers will cast their vote for him.  Same reason he is never nominated for the Norris Trophy.  Mainly because of his attitude towards the media, and his antics (like taking the puck after games 1 and 2).  But I'm sure Pronger could care less about the Con Smythe.  He wants the Holy Grail, The Stanley Cup.  Let's Go Flyers!!!

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2010 1:52 pm

The case for the Conn

Hahahaha.....just like Flyers fans were ready to crown themselves after game 4 and what happened.  YOU GOT BUFFED!  PRONGER GOT BUFFED!  THE FLYERS GOT BUFFED!

This series is over.  Congrats on being the runner up!

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