LOS ANGELES - To the surprise of absolutely no one, Jonathan Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Really, there wasn’t another choice, was there?
Oh, captain Dustin Brown had terrific playoff moments and was a huge part of the Los Angeles Kings' dominant 6-1 win over the New Jersey Devils Monday night, and Drew Doughty has once again confirmed his place as the next great defenceman in hockey. But over four rounds, and 16 wins by the Kings, it was the goaltender Quick who was the constant game-to-game, series-to-series
Quick ended the playoffs with a miraculous 1.41 goals against average and a post-season leading .946 goals-against average, making it the second straight year that an American goaltender was awarded the Conn Smythe without any real debate. In the four wins by the Kings in the final, Quick allowed three goals in almost 14 periods of play.
In winning the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe, something he can now share with his goaltending coach, Bill Ranford, who won both himself, the soft-spoken and often unemotional Quick talked about the journey that took the Kings from also-rans to Stanley Cup champions. He also talked about winning the first three games of the series, thinking it was over, then losing two straight and clawing their way back to victory Monday night.
“You keep pushing (the Stanley Cup) out of your mind when you’re on the ice. It will creep back in (your head). Especially when you get that four goal lead. You know, it’s hard for it not to creep into your head a little bit. But I just reminded myself how dangerous they were.”
And then he celebrated, first by winning the Cup, but before commissioner Gary Bettman gave that out, he presented Quick with the Conn Smythe.
“If it wasn’t for him, we’re not in the playoffs,” said Willie Mitchell, the veteran Kings defencman who was in tears on the ice post-game. “He was our MVP in the season, our MVP in the playoffs. The right guy won the award.”