Just moments before hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career last Thursday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player during the 2017-18 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fans and media members alike seemed to agree with the decision to give Ovi the honor, as he was the playoff’s leading scorer and quite clearly the motivating factor in his team’s success. Pockets of fans were calling for Ovi’s linemate Evgeny Kuznetsov to take the honor, while others felt that goaltender Braden Holtby had earned MVP honors. There was even a tiny minority who felt that Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc Andre Fleury deserved some consideration, mostly as a result of his outstanding play leading up to the Cup Final.
In the end, Ovechkin won the award, then promptly put it aside in favor of the Stanley Cup. In fact, Ovi hasn’t been more than two feet away from the Stanley Cup since first touching it.
But, how close was the voting? Was Kuznetsov ever really a threat to win? And how about Holtby and Fleury? For the first time ever the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA), the group tasked with awarding the Conn Smyhe, has made their voting open to the public. So… how’d things shake down? See for yourself:
*Totals* (first place votes):*Alex Ovechkin* (Washington) - 80 points (13)
*Evgeny Kuznetsov* (Washington) - 64 points (5)*Braden Holtby* (Washington) - 16 points (0)
*Marc-Andre Fleury* (Vegas) - 2 points (0)
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association annually cast votes to decide major NHL Awards including the Hart, Norris, Calder, Selke, Masterton, Lady Byng and Conn Smythe trophies, as well as end of season All-Star and All-Rookie teams. Founded in 1967, the PHWA strives to promote, preserve and protect media access for journalists covering the NHL.
Interesting… in effect Ovi absolutely blew away the competition, earning as many points as both Kuznetsov and Holtby combined. It’s also interesting to note that neither goaltender received a single first place vote. It came down to a two horse race with Ovi edging out Kuznetsov by a fair margin.
What’s your take? Was Kuznetsov robbed? He was the top point producer of the entire 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and you can make the argument that he was a more impactful player than Ovechkin… nonetheless it’s Ovi who takes home the hardware.
Photo Credit: Zuma Press