June 6, 2007
Who gets Conn Smythe?Pahlsson, Giguere are frontrunners
By TERRY JONES -- Sun Media
ANAHEIM -- Sammy Pahlsson for the Conn Smythe?
Unheard of? A defensive forward? With three goals? The MVP?
It could happen. There's no clear-cut choice for the award among Anaheim Ducks going into what could be the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs here tonight.
"That's great," said J.S. Giguere, the goaltender who won it as a member of the losing team in 2003.
"Quite frankly, that means we have a good team with a lot of guys contributing everything every night."
It's not a subject which is being discussed in the dressing room of the team which leads the Ottawa Senators 3-1 coming home for Game 5.
"To be honest, nobody cares," said Giguere.
He has to be a candidate. Giguere played second banana to Roberto Luongo and Dominek Hasek in the two previous series, but, while not being as outstanding as he was in 2003, has given his team a chance to win every night. His performance in the first period of Game 4 was a fresh reminder of that.
Giguere says he doesn't care. He's already won one. When it comes to Stanley Cups, he's won none.
"Past experience tells me this is not the trophy you want to win," he says.
Captain Scott Neidermayer has two game winners and has shown a lot of quiet leadership including after Daniel Alfredsson intentionally shot the puck at his head late in the second period of Game 4.
"I know when that happened it definitely hit a chord with our hockey club," said coach Randy Carlyle.
"The thing that surprised me the most about it all was that Neidermayer took it upon himself to tell the team to turn the page on it. That's a leadership statement.
"He sensed the situation was that we could be putting ourselves in jeopardy of losing our focus to the task at hand. Those things are monumental in pressure situations."
But is that enough to win the Conn Smythe?
Some would suggest he wasn't vintage Neidermayer against Vancouver or Detroit.
Chris Pronger would have won it last year if the Edmonton Oilers had won Game 7. He's had another dominant post-season this year. But do you give it to somebody with two suspensions?
Teemu Selanne would be the people's choice, perhaps. With five goals and 15 points, he's one back of Ryan Getzlaf for the team points lead. A big game tonight by either of them and maybe, but ...
There's nobody on the Senators who has stood head and shoulders above anybody in the series.
So who gets the Conn Smythe? Why not Pahlsson?
You could make a case the Ducks are going to win this Stanley Cup because of the work of his defensive line co-starring Rob Neidermayer and Travis Moen.
Ask Pahlsson about being a candidate and you could tell the prospect had never crossed his mind.
"I'd never think I'd be a candidate if I am one now," he said. "I'm not even going to think about it."