The player known as “Mr. Game 7” can now be called “Mr. Playoff MVP.”
In what must have been a tough call for voters, Los Angeles Kings winger Justin Williams was named the 2014 Conn Smythe winner on Friday after his team survived a double-overtime thriller against the New York Rangers.
As flattering as the “Mr. Game 7” nickname must be, there was the chance that such a specific moniker might obscure the fact that he is much more than just a “closer” to the Los Angeles Kings. You can probably put that to bed now, though.
Williams praised his teammates over and over again after receiving the Conn Smythe, yet you could tell it was a proud moment for a player who fought through tough times earlier in his career, particularly with injuries.
“It’s pretty sweet,” Williams said. “To get that award and to get the ovation that I got from my teammates was pretty special and emotional for me. ”
The 32-year-old scored nine goals and 25 points in 26 playoff games, including the opening tally in Friday’s Game 5 thriller, which ended with the Kings prevailing 3-2 against the New York Rangers in double-overtime.
Williams scored big goals with aplomb, including the overtime-clincher in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He’s long been a quality scorer, especially with lights shining the brightest, yet he made the leap from an under-the-radar star to a household hockey name during the Kings’ incredible (and grueling) run.
Beyond providing quality offense, one of the things that really stands out about Williams is that he’s the kind of two-way player who might begin to draw serious Selke consideration. Like Patrice Bergeron, this high-profile run might grab mainstream attention for a player whose brilliance is a little on the subtle side.
Sneaky or not, Williams is enjoying quite the outstanding career already. He’s already a three-time Stanley Cup champion who routinely seems to put his team in a position to prevail in must-win games.
In other words, he might have a shot at another Conn Smythe Trophy before he hangs up his skates.