The Conn Smythe trophy was first awarded in 1965 to the most valuable player in the NHL playoffs. Often times, it has been unsurprisingly given to the player who had the best playoffs for the Stanley Cup champions.
However, every so often — five times to be exact — the Conn Smythe winner has belonged to the losing team. In 1966, during the award's infancy, Red Wings goalie Roger Crozier won the award in a losing effort. Most recently, Jean-Sebastien Giguere won the award in 2003 for the Ducks.
If the Bruins happen to lose Game 7 on Wednesday in Vancouver, Tim Thomas could be the next name added to that list of Conn Smythe winners on losing teams.
Thomas has been the best goalie throughout the playoffs, something that has been proven even further during the Stanley Cup Final. As his adversary, Roberto Luongo has been busy pumping tires and getting lit up in front of the TD Garden crowd, Thomas has been a model of consistency down the sheet.
Not counting brief appearances from backups like Mike Smith and Antero Nittymaki, Thomas will enter Game 7 leading practically every goaltending category in the playoffs. HIs 2.06 goals against average and .937 save percentage are both out of this world.
Sure, the quantity of saves is obviously there, but so is the quality. More than once this spring Thomas has made hallmark, highlight-reel saves. There was the save on Brian Gionta in Game 5 of the first round against Montreal. That one somehow then paled in comparison to the save he made on Steve Downie in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Thomas has been so good this postseason, that one Toronto Sun writer penned a column titled "Just give the Stanley Cup to Tim Thomas, neither team deserves it." A bit harsh, and obviously a little bit of hyperbole, but it's a pretty fair representation of this year's playoffs.
Much of it will come down to the voting and the principles of those voters. A Bruins loss in Game 7 may keep some voters from writing down Thomas' names under the impression that a player on the losing team shouldn't win the award.
However, with the lack of a real standout on the other bench, paired with Thomas' once-in-a-lifetime playoff run, it's going to be very hard to go with anyone other than No. 30 in black and gold.
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