Conn Smythe Consideration

First, let me say that I’m kinda happy the Pittsburgh Penguins won game-three of the SCF last night…

dodging cyber-bricks tossed by Sara, Alan and Wings fan in GA

Hey, settle down kids…they Wings still have a two-one lead… they’ll be just fine. My reasoning here is that I really wasn’t ready for the season to come to an end as early as tomorrow. I’d like for this to stretch out ‘til next week if possible.

Also, given the fact that there will now definitely be a game five played, it also means another playoff viewing party at TJs Saturday night. Drop of the puck is scheduled for just after eight o’clock that evening…so make your plans accordingly & RSVP below, via e-mail or with Trixie.

Another reason I’m glad the Pens took game-three is because I wanted to discuss Conn Smythe Trophy possibilities…and since the person that top my list is Chris Osgood, I didn’t wanna cast too much praise on him and then…ya know…put the “jinx” on him.

But now since Pittsburgh has one in the W column now…I figure I’m good to go with it.

Anyway, like I said, Osgood is my choice to skate away with the Conn Smythe…at least to this point. Even with last night’s loss he is 14-5 in the postseason and sporting a cool .927 SV% and 2.00 GAA. Pretty impressive numbers, eh?

Of the five losses, two of them required overtime to accomplish the feat…4-3 in Chicago last week and that three-OT job in game two of the second round in which Anaheim came away with a 4-3 win as well. Two other defeats were of the 2-1 variety and they also came at the hands…er, wings…of the Ducks.

Then, of course, there was last night’s 4-2 loss in which Osgood gave up 3 goals on 20 shots.

Also playing in Osgood’s favor here is the fact that only six times in the 19 games during the playoffs has he surrendered more than two goals in a game. Only once has an opposing team scored more than three times during regulation…the 6-5 Detroit win that completed their sweep of Columbus.

In short, the man is doing his job.

Making that even more impressive is the fact than many…myself included…thought that if there was one area of weakness the Red Wings had coming out of the regular season, it was between the pipes. Although he did finish with a 26-9-8 record, Osgood’s goals against average was high, (3.09), and his saves percentage was low, (.887%) considering the fact that the Wings held their opposition to 27.7 SA/G during the regular season, (2nd best in the NHL).

But when the playoffs came around…Osgood came to play. And he’s been the difference for the Wings, especially during the Ducks series.

Now, are there others to consider? Oh yeah…you betcha!

One cannot overlook Evgeni Malkin and his 13 goals and 33 points performance so far. Those numbers lead all skaters during the playoffs. Sidney Crosby is right behind him with 14 goals and 15 assists and has won 53.8% of the faceoffs he taken.

Also to be taken into consideration are a pair of Red Wings…Johan Franzen, with 22 overall points and Henrick Zetterberg, last year’s Conn Smythe winner, with 21 points and has won 55.4% of his faceoffs.

But to me, after two months of playoff hockey, the one player sticking out in my mind for this award is Chris Osgood.

Mr. Game Four

Marian Hossa has been held to a pair of assists so far by the Penguins. However, if Thursday night’s game-four is anything like the Wings previous fourth game of the series…the Pens better keep an eye on him. Hossa has six goals so far in the postseason. Two against Columbus in game four of that series…a pair in the fourth game of the Ducks series…and then two more in, you guessed it, game four of their series against Chicago.

Avalanche Make Moves

The Colorado Avalanche have officially fired head coach Tony Granato. Wow…who saw that coming? He isn’t leaving town alone as several other coaches were given their pink slips as well in Denver. Also today, Colorado removed the word “assistant” from Greg Sherman’s title and named him the team’s general manager.

50 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

June 3rd, 2009
2:08 pm

I would say Osgood… but Zetterberg, who was last years Conn Smythe winner. ;) who has 21 points while covering guys like Crosby (who has 1 pt in this series so far) deserves consideration for sure.

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 3rd, 2009
2:14 pm

Osgood, Zetterberg, Malkin … in that order. Osgood for playing stellar hockey throughout the playoffs, Zetterberg for shutting down everyone he faces while still scoring goals (he’s an everywhere man), and Malkin for picking up the slack while Crosby was dormant and continuing that charge by leading the team in scoring.

Obviously things can change before the series is over, but thus far those three stand out to me.

PensFan7187

June 3rd, 2009
2:15 pm

Ice Man, Johan Franzen did not win the Conne Smythe last year it was Henrik Zetterberg. If the Wings win the Cup it will be Franzen or Osgood. If the Pens win it will be Malkin or Crosby. I don’t really see anyone else having much of a chance. Just my opinion.

Pens in 7

Sara

June 3rd, 2009
2:21 pm

Nice – very nice. Check’s in the mail. ;)

As for the CS – Osgood – not only is he deserving this season, but he deserves it in cumulation of solid post-season play as he backstopped two and potentially a third Stanley Cup play-off run.

Rawhide

June 3rd, 2009
2:24 pm

Pensfan7187 – Yeah, yeah…it was Zetterberg, (DUH5). Thanks, it’s been corrected. Given the choice…if Pittsburgh does pull this series out, Malkin probably gets it ahead of Crosby…unless Crosby factors in HUGE in any possible series comeback.

Hokie – Good point about Zetterberg…Crosby has been kept in check because of that matchup.

ranallo – I’d switch malkin and Zetterberg…but those are close 2-3s.

Sara – As long as the check doesn’t bounce….OK.

Hockey Biltong

June 3rd, 2009
2:29 pm

RH, I’ve never seen you make a mistake!!! How could this happen???’}

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

June 3rd, 2009
2:31 pm

Mr. Hockey Biltong – You obviously have not been looking close enough all the time.

So, do I put you and Mrs. Biltong down for “2″ Saturday night?

Alan

June 3rd, 2009
2:46 pm

I agree whole-heartily with Sara. Osgood for Conn Smythe!

Alan

June 3rd, 2009
2:53 pm

Oh, and question: Is Boston’s Kessel worth a top-5 draft pick? The Boston Herald uses the example of Colorado’s first rounder, but would Atlanta be a consideration for Boston? Would it be worth it for us to trade our pick for Kessel (RFA)?

Bob

June 3rd, 2009
3:24 pm

Can we finish this series first before awarding the trophies? In particular, Osgood looked very bad on those long shots he let in last night, that one was completely unscreened, very good sign for the good guys tomorrow night.

Sara

June 3rd, 2009
3:30 pm

Alan to me the process of evaluation for trading the pick is this: would the player (or the best player if a package were involved) be significantly better than the player we could draft – with the emphasis on significantly better so that it makes up for a) the extra money that player is going to cost us over and above an entry level contract and b) the RFA years already expired on that player.

IMO Kessel is not significantly better than say, Kane. I mean, granted Kane could turn out to be a bust but I highly doubt that’s going to be a problem. In the meantime, we’d have to pay Kessel some pretty good blunt right now as he’s do for a new contract and he’s already lost some FA years. Now, if they were willing to give Kessel AND a pretty decent something else…maybe that would be worth it. But to me to trade that pick means either getting a Tier I RFA forward PLUS something else of value or getting one of the truly elite players. (For example – if Pittsburgh were to offer Malkin for that pick, they could have it because no one outside of potentially Tavares or Hedman – who we won’t get anyway – are nearly as talented as Malkin. I’d rather have 5-6 seasons of paying out the nose for Geno than 7-8 years of varying salary amounts for Evander Kane.

Russ

June 3rd, 2009
3:53 pm

I would only trade the pick for Kessel if you somehow had assurance that he would sign a contract extension to stay in Atlanta beyond next season. If he was willing to play here next season and beyond (highly doubtful) I think you take the proven commodity over the unproven prospect. I would think this would particularly be true in the Thrashers case because they are not going to spend near the cap anytime in the near future, so adding Kessel would help them reach the salary floor. It would be nice if they would add a player like Kessel plus a few other top FA’s, but we all know the ASG won’t do that and/or the Thrashers won’t be able to draw interest from these types of players.

GaVaHokie

June 3rd, 2009
4:03 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Kessel a head case? I believe that was one of the reasons he slipped in his draft year, paired with bad conditioning.

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 3rd, 2009
4:04 pm

I agree with Russ regarding Kessel…Kessel’s a proven NHL commodity and thus inherently more valuable than a draft pick. With a contract in hand (i.e. sign-and-trade, ala Hossa), I’d rather see Kessel playing in Atlanta than Kane. However, sign-and-trades are rare in the modern NHL, so without that assured several years of service it’s better to keep the pick because that player will most likely want to play in Atlanta beyond his entry level contract.

If Boston included Stuart with the negotiating rights to Kessel for the draft pick (and maybe a throw in player like Thorburn, Slater, Exelby, etc), I think that would be too good to pass on. A big bodied stay-at-home defenseman plus exclusive negotiating rights to a top line forward (which means Waddell could simply table a contract so nobody can poach the player, and either resolve the contract differences or bring the player to arbitration) is definitely worth the right to draft Kane or Schenn.

But that’s just a fanciful scenario because I don’t see Kessel coming to Atlanta. I am not expecting any big splashes this offseason…including re-signing Kovalchuk.

Brendan

June 3rd, 2009
4:09 pm

My vote would go to Chris Osgood, for MVP. It’d be a sad thing for him to win 4 Stanley Cup and not be the Conn Smythe winner even once. And yet, I know plenty of people who’d say Roberto Luongo is the far superior goalie. Luongo, not necessarily by his fault, has never advanced any of his teams to a Conference Finals. Osgood could wind up with his 4th Cup this year.

Which tempts me to ask the question, “Is having the best goalie in the league a requirement for winning the Cup?” Or will “good enough” suffice? Play a system that works. And make sure your netminder isn’t the reason you fail.

I also wanted to add that Kris Letang, while no Crosby or Malkin, has certainly scored timely goals for the Penguins, pretty much in all four rounds of playoff action. Including last night, at an essential moment in the game. Letang also scored the Game Three overtime winner in the CF vs. Washington, when the Capitals stood on the verge of a 3-0 series lead, had that goal not been scored.

GaVaHokie

June 3rd, 2009
4:10 pm

If I’m going RFA… I’d target guys like Clowe, Ruutu and Upshall… get some size with your scoring. But, I don’t think those guys are worth giving up a Top 5 pick.

Zherdev would almost be worth it.

GaVaHokie

June 3rd, 2009
4:16 pm

ranallo… if we got Kessel and Stuart for our 1st round pick and a throw in, I could live with that. Boston just extended Krejci and are at $50 million.

I think we’d sign Reasoner, and extend Armstrong, Valabik, Salmela and Slater and be done.

Mark Stuart would play 2nd line with Hainsey.

Tim

June 3rd, 2009
4:58 pm

Brendan, true, if you have a solid system, then a good enough goalie is enough most of the time, as long as you have a solid hockey team. However, having a super-goalie is a requirement for team that go cheap or that don’t have a solid Red Wing system. Patrick Roy won his first 2 SC on a very average Canadiens Team.

Also, when 2 strong team face each other in the playoff. normally the one with the super goalie would win the SC such as when Roy was playing against Detroit :)

So having a Super Goalie is not a necessity but it help. Actually, a goalie that turn on on important game (Osgood) is even better then a super goalie (Nobokov, Luongo, etc…) :)

h

June 3rd, 2009
5:21 pm

Getting Kessel would be huge and I agree with Hokie about Stuart, he’d be a big help. I also agree that you’d have to get Kessel to agree to an extension. What if you sweeten the pot for Stuart by perhaps adding in White or Exelby or both. Then in my mind only other move to make is a center……like Antropov. That is a team I like….
Kovy Antropov Kessel
Kozy Peverley Little
C. Stuart Reasoner Armstrong
Boulton and any two guys you want

Toby Bogo
Hainsey M. Stuart
Valabik Salmela

Brendan

June 3rd, 2009
5:31 pm

Tout juste, Tim. TrEs bien observE. Patrick Roy a vole quelques series de finales.

Alan

June 3rd, 2009
8:49 pm

I also agree that you’d have to get Kessel to agree to an extension.

He’s RFA. We trade for him, he’s our property. If you mean “agree to an extension” in the sense of “after he becomes UFA,” then I don’t think any player agrees to something like that so early in his career.

LAC

June 3rd, 2009
9:43 pm

Well another team Colorado wants to improve themselves… They FIRE the coach & GM… What a novel idea,a NEW GM for a floundering team who has been here TOO long !

Alan

June 3rd, 2009
9:55 pm

They fired everyone, LAC, including the video and goalie coaches.

My bets are they also fired the water boy.

Brendan

June 3rd, 2009
11:03 pm

Well, no one can argue that Colorado isn’t trying to make a “fresh, new start” by making it CLEAR that it’s a NEW DAY in Denver. No remnants of the previous occupants. Say that it these parts, and it’ll go over as well as Mel Gibson being the keynote speaker at the American Jewish Convention.

Sara

June 3rd, 2009
11:39 pm

Brendan, I don’t know how much of a “fresh, new start” it is when the new GM has been with the organization for the past 13 years already, mostly as an Asst. GM. Technically speaking, they haven’t brought in anyone yet who wasn’t already affiliated with the team in some other capacity. It will be interesting to see who they pick as the new HC.

Personally however, I’ve been enjoying watching the Avs turn into a train wreck. I’m sure Alan’s feeling me on that one. ;)

kracker

June 3rd, 2009
11:47 pm

Brendan

June 4th, 2009
12:39 am

Allright, Sara. I stand corrected. They’re not doing diddly squat in Denver. But if it’s true that their new GM has been with the organization for 13 years, then he at least SAW those two Stanley Cups and six (6) Conference Finals berths the Avs experienced during those years. Perhaps, he learned something along the way.

Sharon

June 4th, 2009
3:43 am

I’m rooting for Osgood to get the Conn Smythe if the Wings win the Cup. Overall, he’s been great in the playoffs this year. He’ll always have his naysayers, but he’ll always have those Cup rings too. I’m sure he finds some comfort in that (haha). Plus, he autographed my Red Wings goalie mask and puck at the Atlanta All-Star Game so he gets bonus points from me (haha).

Go Wings!

World Be Free

June 4th, 2009
6:40 am

I would not give a top 5 pick for Kessel. He just does not bring the full package to the table that Kane will in the long term. He’s also alot closer to UFA than Kane is today and that is an important consideration.

I’ll take “The Real Deal”; the folks in Boston aren’t even that ga-ga over Kessel, so I don’t know why we would be.

We need a big guy that can score not a smurf.

Ogie Oglethorpe

June 4th, 2009
6:43 am

Osgood-he has outplayed Fleury at the most important position in the game (so far).

Colorado went from one of the best teams in the league to the worst. I have no idea who has been really making the decisions in Debver, but all of them have been bad!

I hope nobody here gets dumb enough to fire John Anderson. I notice nobody ever trashes Anderson on the AJC blogs. He’s done a very good job so far.

Toby

June 4th, 2009
7:23 am

I would take Kessel in a heartbeat. IF Kane, MPS, or any other pick becomes a 36 goal scorer at the age of 22, it’s a great draft pick. Kessel already is one.

lonely Kovy

June 4th, 2009
8:46 am

Will you please get me someone to play with? Please?

Alan

June 4th, 2009
9:27 am

Personally however, I’ve been enjoying watching the Avs turn into a train wreck.

You’ve got THAT right, Sara!

LET’S GO RED WINGS!

Don Waddell

June 4th, 2009
10:03 am

Who is Conn Smythe?

Bag of Pucks

June 4th, 2009
10:43 am

Why am I always the subject of trade rumors? This is why I can never buy a house. My car has seven different license plates on it. At least I’ll have a fine roommate in Johan Hedberg.

Conn Smythe

June 4th, 2009
10:47 am

Don Waddell is an idiot.

Tony C.

June 4th, 2009
11:14 am

I think what you’re trying to say is:

FIRE WADDELL

Wings fan in Ga.

June 4th, 2009
12:27 pm

No Rawhide, I won’t throw a cyber-brick. But I agree with you, Osgood is the MVP if they don’t blow it. Of course, Sports Illustrated put the Red Wings on the cover in the upper Midwest. Hopefully they won’t choke like the Cleveland Cavs did when SI put them on the cover with the ‘Cleveland Rocks’ issue just before their conference finals.

Hockey Biltong

June 4th, 2009
3:28 pm

Osgood…
no trading our draft pick…
spend the $ on good free agents who want to be here..
no to Sat. Trixie.your mascara is running and I have a hot date at BLT.

YOGURT

June 4th, 2009
4:02 pm

***I hope nobody here gets dumb enough to fire John Anderson. I notice nobody ever trashes Anderson on the AJC blogs. He’s done a very good job so far.***

What exactly has he done that is so good?

Tony C.

June 4th, 2009
5:31 pm

yogurt-uhhm having a clear idea about what “Thrasher’s Hockey” looks like. Not saying that we’ve seen it for more than say 15minutes so far, but the man actually seems to know what he’s doing-which is more than anybody in their first year of mgmt/player development not named Hartley has ever shown in their 1st year on the job.

Bob

June 4th, 2009
10:12 pm

lol, game on boys and girls, the hole in the Detroit goal is getting bigger. Conn Smythe, indeed.

Don Waddell

June 4th, 2009
11:06 pm

I did something, I did something…mark it down on June 4 at 4:45pm I actually did something…I have such a warm feeling running down my leg.

Brendan

June 4th, 2009
11:14 pm

And now, we’ve got a six-game series!! Remember the rule: either (1) you win or (2) you don’t. Excuses don’t matter. Excuses are just like … leaves on a tree. You win. Or you don’t. And the beauty of the playoffs, as opposed to the regular season, is that it brings forth results rather quickly. No half losses. No partial points. No moral victories, like … “but we’re playing better.”

Great game from Crosby, Malkin, Staal, and Fleury. How ’bout that Zetterberg “give-a-way” as the 2nd period came to a close, allowing Malkin to have a breakaway with three (3) seconds left in the period. I can’t even believe Zetterberg would try a drop pass under those conditions.

Right now, I believe Malkin is leading all scorers in points. The Conn Smythe candidacy, win or lose for the Penguins, has materialized. The last time someone on the losing team won the Conn Smythe was 2003, with Jean-Sebastian Giguere, of Anaheim. Let’s not forget Malkin had an OT winner in that tough series with the Capitals, in the CSF. I think it was Game Five.

Best goal of the Finals so far?? My vote goes to Tyler Kennedy, from tonight’s game. That was simply awesome. I’m so glad this is a bonafide series now. I think the pressure is now on Detroit to hold serve. Home ice has, indeed, been an advantage in these Finals.

Don Waddell

June 4th, 2009
11:35 pm

I like leaves on a tree.

Brendan

June 4th, 2009
11:59 pm

So does Leo Buscalia. :) Word on the street is, Leo covers his living room with them, and rolls around in them, cloaking himself in the process. I want to be clear. I’m not judgemental. If a person can find happiness rolling around in leaves, in their own living room, nobody can steal that man’s hopes and dreams. Nobody. Moving right along.

(Poster) Don Waddell, any moment now, your minions will arrive to proclaim that Nic Havelid will be playing in Europe next season while Anssi Salmela will still be a Thrasher, so who won the trade? They’ll add, New Jersey didn’t even get out of the 1st round of the playoffs. And that the Devils were in 1st place when they acquired Havelid, so he didn’t really help them “win” that division, so much as he helped them maintain it.

When you’re a Thrashers fan, I guess is the minutia we’re reduced to discussing. So … the organization successfully moved a pending UFA, whose plans didn’t include returning to the NHL next season, for a 3rd pairing RFA blueliner who agreed to re-sign on a multi-year deal. Film at Eleven.

Honestly. Does this news inspire cartwheels? I’m glad it’s done. I’m hoping Salmela can become a staple on our blueline. But if he doesn’t, is anyone mystified by it? Allrighteee then. As a Thrashers fan, all I can do is sit back, hope for the best, but know that the organization operates from a position of weakness. I did see that the Bruins locked up Krecji (Sp?).

Don Waddell

June 5th, 2009
12:09 am

How does does one mystify? I prefer to obsfucate and procrastinate.

Brendan

June 5th, 2009
2:19 am

U listen to INXS, Don Waddell. “Mystify. Ya mystify, me.”

Sage of Bluesland

June 5th, 2009
7:40 am

“…When you’re a Thrashers fan, I guess is the minutia we’re reduced to discussing. So … the organization successfully moved a pending UFA, whose plans didn’t include returning to the NHL next season, for a 3rd pairing RFA blueliner who agreed to re-sign on a multi-year deal. Film at Eleven….”

LOL at Brendan…Very funny–and true!!!

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 5th, 2009
8:07 am

The Thrashers are about to have one less potential trading partner for Lehtonen or Pavelec…there are reports that the Flyers are negotiating a contract with Ray Emery.