Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 5/29/12
After a grueling 82 games season and three rounds of physical playoff hockey, we have finally made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Here is a look at the candidates to win the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) for this year’s playoffs.   Ilya Kovalchuck, New Jersey Devils:  Fans across the NHL are starting to realize why the Devils signed Kovalchuk to such a large contract two summers ago. The Russian left-winger has provided New Jersey with a tremendous offensive spark and is a scoring threat every time he steps on the ice. Kovalchuk leads the team in both goals and assists this postseason. He has also been playing a tad over 23 minutes per game, an extremely high amount for an offensive player. Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings:  There is no better Kings to wear the “C” on their jersey than Dustin Brown. Brown has been the heart and soul of the eight seed throughout the entire playoff, leading the team in points, making big hits, and always sacrificing his body for the good of the team. If the Kings ever need a spark, Brown gives it to them (the Kings scored their overtime series winning goal against Phoenix after a huge and ((and legal)) Brown hit. Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils: Zach Parise is to the Devils what Dustin Brown is to the Kings. Not only is he one of the most skilled players on the ice, but also one of the smartest and most physical. Parise has led the Devils in their under the radar run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings: The 22-year-old defenseman has already proved that he is one of the best in the league. Doughty plays an unreal 26 minutes per game, and dazzles his opponents with his incredible stick handling, fiery slap shot, and tremendous speed. After the 2009-2010 season Doughty became the youngest player to be named a finalist for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman) and he has returned to that level of play this postseason. Jonathon Quick, Los Angeles Kings: Quite frankly, the Kings would not even be in the playoffs if it weren’t for Quick’s ten shutouts during the regular season. This postseason he has the second highest save percentage and second lowest goals against average, posting two shutouts in his twelve games started. More impressively Quick has only given up more than two goals twice, meaning the Kings can almost guarantee a win if they are able to score three goals. Quick is making a strong case not only for the Conn Smythe Trophy, but the Veniza as well (best goalie award). -Langer  
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