Conn Smythe trophy, Gary Bettman

Who should win the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy?


Now that we’ve reached the Stanley Cup finals, it’s time to start thinking about who could wind up winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. Both the Devils and Kings have a handful of guys to consider for the award, but we’re picking out three from each team to consider.

Here goes nothing.

Los Angeles

Drew Doughty — Ken Hitchcock said Doughty was the best player in the second round and he’s looked every bit of the superstar he’s meant to be in the postseason. With two goals and eight assists he’s, by far, the leading blue line scorer for L.A.

Dustin Brown — Brown has been Mr. Everything for Los Angeles. Even strength he’s been a beast and shorthanded he’s given opponents nightmares. He’s physical, he’s skilled, and he’s leading the Kings in goals and points with every goal seeming to be a big one.

Jonathan Quick — Without Quick the Kings are toast most nights. He’s seen plenty of rubber and kept most of it out with a .946 save percentage. The Kings haven’t been superstars on defense but with Quick in goal they’ve been mopping the floor with opponents out West. Do the Kings even go anywhere without their Vezina Trophy finalist?

New Jersey

Ilya Kovalchuk — He’s leading the playoffs in points and is a goal shy of tying Danny Briere and Claude Giroux for the playoff lead. He’s been everything the Devils hoped he would be when they signed him to his monster deal two summers ago and, after finally escaping the first round, he’s settled in in glorious fashion.

Martin Brodeur — Brodeur might’ve been boned out of the 2003 Conn Smythe when Jean-Sebastien Giguere won it in losing fashion, but with how he’s played in these playoffs he might be able to land the one trophy that’s eluded him. Brodeur might be 40 years-old, but he’s looking like classic Marty all over again.

Zach Parise — He’s the captain and he’s had a huge postseason with seven goals and seven assists, trailing only Kovalchuk offensively. Being the captain means having to carry the team and he’s more than done his share of that, especially against the Rangers. Now if only they can get him locked up long-term…

Now it’s up to you to decide. Who takes home the Conn Smythe Trophy right now? Vote in our poll and let us know.

Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium

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The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.

Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.

The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)

Here are the full rosters:


NBCSN will broadcast the alumni game nationally in the United States, while Sportsnet and TVA Sports will have it in Canada.

The 2016 Winter Classic will be played the next day (on NBC).

Goalie nods: Andersen’s ‘flu-like symptoms’ mean Khudobin starts versus Flames

Anton Khudobin, Frederik Andersen
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With Frederik Andersen experiencing “flu-like symptoms” (PHT diagnosis: it might be the flu), the Anaheim Ducks will turn to backup Anton Khudobin for tonight’s home game versus Calgary.

Khudobin could, in turn, be backed up by Josh Gibson, recalled today from AHL San Diego. The Ducks have officially listed Andersen as “questionable.”

Khudobin (3-3-0, .917) has not started a game in over a week. His last action came exactly a week ago, after Andersen got the hook versus Nashville.

Andersen may or may not travel with the Ducks for tomorrow’s game at Arizona.

The Ducks, of course, are coming off a 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay, a result that produced the following quote from Ryan Kesler:

After a four-game winning streak to start November, Anaheim has since dropped five of its last seven.

Karri Ramo will be in net for the Flames. After a terrible start to the season, he’s been much better lately, allowing just eight goals combined in his last four starts.


Craig Anderson for the Senators. Antti Niemi for the Stars.

Torts: Jackets still need more ‘bite’

John Tortorella

The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.

The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.

Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.

“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”

The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.


— The Canucks need ‘more bite’

The Rangers are better when they have ‘more bite’

Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer


The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.

Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.

The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.

According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.

“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”

In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.

Related: Where’s the depth in San Jose?