Conn Smythe Trophy: Does a Blackhawk deserve to win?

Bruce Bennett

The Blackhawks could win the Stanley Cup on Monday night, but that doesn't guarantee they'll also take Conn Smythe Trophy. Who are the favorites?

BOSTON -- If the Stanley Cup is awarded to the Chicago Blackhawks after Game 6, chances are a member of their team will also take the Conn Smythe Trophy home as well.

Since 1965, only five members of the losing team have won the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP. The most recent was Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 2003 as a member of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who lost to the New Jersey Devils that year. Before then, you'd have to go back to Ron Hextall, goalie of the Philadelphia Flyers, who won the Conn Smythe in 1987 despite his team's loss to Edmonton.

But is there a chance that even if Chicago wins the Cup on Monday -- or Wednesday in Game 7, for that matter -- a member of the Boston Bruins could still win the Conn Smythe?

There are a few pretty clear options when it comes to potential MVPs on the Boston side. Tuukka Rask has played out of his mind all playoffs long, and he's probably the sole reason the Bruins are still alive in the postseason. He's certainly the reason Boston dispatched the top-seeded Penguins in a sweep during the Eastern Final, and he's one of the main reasons the Bruins have been able to hold off Chicago's attack in some of these Cup Final games.

David Krejci leads all playoff scorers with nine goals and 16 assists heading in to Game 6, so he's a clear option as well. Many of those points came in the first round when Boston came back from the dead to beat Toronto in seven games, but Krejci's line -- along with mates Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic -- has gone a bit cold in the Final. Still, Krejci has to be in the running for the Conn Smythe given his overall playoff performance.

Then there's Patrice Bergeron, who was probably robbed of the Selke Trophy this season by Blackhawk captain Jonathan Toews, who has scored nine goals in the postseason -- tying him for second among all scorers -- and is also the Bruins' most valuable defensive forward. Bergeron's contributions cannot be measured solely by offensive numbers, but he's still been a leader in that category as well.

On the Chicago side, Jonathan Toews has been cold for much of the postseason. Corey Crawford has been good for stretches but nowhere near as valuable as Rask has been for the Bruins. Patrick Sharp has scored 10 goals, but he's been quiet late in the postseason, scoring just three of those goals since Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.

Patrick Kane has nine goals in the playoffs, including an OT winner to eliminate the Kings and a two goal performance in Game 5 vs. Boston, but overall the lack of production from the Blackhawks' top lines has been a storyline all postseason and all Final long. Kane has scored all nine of his goals in just six games, which while great means he's been quiet for the majority of the playoffs.

If the Blackhawks fly home with the Cup on Monday night, history indicates that they'll probably have the Conn Smythe Trophy on board as well, but there's a chance that for the first time in ten years, we could see a losing player named most valuable player.

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