Different Seasons, Different MVPs
So if the Stanley Cup playoffs ended today because Gary Bettman needed to spend more time working with Jim Balsillie, Sidney Crosby would be the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP, right?
|Crosby in his office.|
There would be other candidates. If Anaheim can sneak past Detroit tonight Jonas Hiller will start to get mentions. If it goes the other way, you can't ignore goal-machine Johan Franzen. Should Carolina prevail in Boston tonight Eric Staal will be viewed as a big reason behind the Canes' third conference final appearance in six years. Chicago? Right now, the list of candidates is too long, with youthful captain Jonathan Toews possibly leading the pack.
But still, at the end, it would be Crosby. With 12 goals in 13 games, and the majority of them scored from the messy, dangerous areas near the enemy net, Crosby is proving himself to be the consummate NHL post-season warrior. Alex Ovechkin was generally terrific in seven games against the Penguins and certainly had more dash, but Crosby delivered the true substance in the end.
That one-on-one rivalry - Crosby vs. Ovechkin - will next be played out in Vancouver next winter.
Still, its interesting that while Crosby wasn't even a finalist for the Hart Trophy as regular season MVP this year - Ovechkin, Evgeny Malkin and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk were - the Nova Scotian has outshone all three in the playoffs. They've all been good, mind you, and even though Datsyuk hasn't got the numbers he's been a dominant performer for the Red Wings against the Ducks.
But Crosby, bolstered with the experience of getting so close to the Cup last spring, has been better. It certainly complicates the debate over who is the best player in the world right now, doesn't it.
If it was four weeks ago, most would say Ovechkin.
Today? Hard to look past what Crosby is doing.
And you'd rather have the guy who can do it in the playoffs.