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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
Comments

Since: Oct 7, 2006
Posted on: June 8, 2010 1:18 am
 

auntE.M.

Those aren't all fans who are "jumping on the bandwagon" these are ex-fans returning to the team (you know nothing of Bill Wirtz and his "business model").  This man refused to put regular season home games on t.v.  You had to order pay-per-view to watch all playoff games.  He refused to pay his players (Bobby Hull went to the AHL).  Also the Hawks have led the league in attendence the last 2 years.  http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance&n
bsp;   Averaging over 100% (thats standing room only).  The fans were mistreated and forced to watch a bad product for too long and eventually stopped going.  Now with Wirtz' son in charge fans and ex-players were welcomed back with open arms.  Also who cares, at least we don't have to live in Philadelphia.


antietam-cg54
Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: June 8, 2010 12:28 am
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whofan74
Since: Oct 31, 2008
Posted on: June 8, 2010 12:06 am
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Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: June 7, 2010 11:28 pm
 

The case for the Conn

I am a Flyers fan.... REGARDLESS of a game 7 outcome, I want a damn game 7.  Both teams deserve it and we as fans definitely deserve it.  This has been a great series.  I think it is better then last years series between Detroit and Pittsburgh.  Can we all stop the childish bickering too.  It is embarassing as a "hockey fan".  It makes it difficult to have interesting "chats" about an awesome series.  Good Luck Hawks and Congrats to the Hawks and their fans for getting to the Cup..... LETS GO FLYERS!!!

))))))))))CHEERS(((((((((( to a historic GAME 7


antietam-cg54
Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: June 7, 2010 10:57 pm
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Since: Nov 3, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2010 10:53 pm
 

The case for the Conn

Hawks in 6. 




Since: Nov 6, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2010 10:50 pm
 

The case for the Conn

Their There is no reason...(my bad)



Since: Nov 6, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2010 10:48 pm
 

The case for the Conn

I am confused how you can say "here we go again with 'the hawks haven't played their best yet'" etc etc..  when we are hearing the same BS over and over about Philly. "look at the Boston series" "this team rules with their backs against the wall" etc etc..  these are both arguments for both sides, that wont be the last time you hear those arguments before Wednesday I hate to break it to you. This is a great post, chitown.  The truth is, both teams' fans know what their teams' best hockey looks like and what they're capable of.  I haven't watched any team besides the Hawks, and I know what they are capable of and what their best hockey looks like - even against quality teams (see: San Jose).  This doesn't take anything away from the Flyers, who are playing a strong series and obviously have had a great post-season.  Their is no reason to be so defensive...and for antietam - your posts sound like a whiny child.  Not sure what all the anti-Chicago rhetoric is about - one of the world's greatest cities!


antietam-cg54
Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: June 7, 2010 10:37 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Nov 3, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2010 10:26 pm
 

The case for the Conn

I am confused how you can say "here we go again with 'the hawks haven't played their best yet'" etc etc..  when we are hearing the same BS over and over about Philly. "look at the Boston series" "this team rules with their backs against the wall" etc etc..  these are both arguments for both sides, that wont be the last time you hear those arguments before Wednesday I hate to break it to you.  Nor will it be the first time I hear those arguments from Philly fans..

I will give Philly credit, this series has been great, but you didn't watch the entire blackhawks season, much like I didn't watch the entire Philly season..  The hawks team that started this season was not the same team, dumb turnovers, bad passing and not shooting at will are some good examples..  Not to mention BRUTAL officiating, and I'm sure you have heard that argument as well, but even analyst indicate the same.. up till game 5, the calls were terribly one-sided.  Pronger has figured out what he can and can't get away with in his 17 year career, kudos I guess, but regardless, it is BS what he gets away with. 

I understand that you believe the flyers are as deep, as fast and as good as the hawks.. but your only kidding yourself.   I'm not saying that getting that last win is going to be easy, I'm just saying the Hawks will get it..

 



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