It is very unusual to see a player on the losing team of the Stanley Cup Final bring home the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player of the postseason.
But unsurprisingly, when it does happen, it often is the goalie on the losing team that is recognized. It’s only happened twice in the last 32 years, and both of those times it was goaltenders having to trot out after a Game 7 loss to accept the award.
J.S. Giguere did it in 2003 with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and before that, it was Ron Hextall with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1987.
Tuukka Rask certainly has built a case for the award whether the Boston Bruins win or lose Game 7 against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night should he keep up his solid play.
Obviously, there is a different trophy Rask would rather lay claim to, but how ridiculous is it to think Rask should be the Conn Smythe win or lose on Wednesday?
“I don’t disagree,” Hextall said, via The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. “Right now, I think he’s probably the most deserving guy now win or lose.”
It’s pretty safe to say that Rask has all but locked up the award should the Bruins win Game 7, but there certainly are a couple scenarios that could lead to Rask still bringing home the hardware despite a Bruins loss, as LeBrun points out.
“Sure, if Rask gets blown out Wednesday, my argument dies,” LeBrun wrote. “But let’s say the road warrior Blues eke out a 2-1 victory in Game 7. Again, given how split the Blues vote would likely be among some worthy candidates such as Ryan O’Reilly, Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jordan Binnington, whereas with all due to respect to Torey Krug who has been excellent, it’s clear Rask has been the runaway MVP on his team. Has the Finnish netminder not already done enough to warrant top billing as the player that’s stood out above everyone this spring?”
Rask’s numbers certainly are pretty mind-bending. The 32-year-old has posted a 1.98 goals against average with a .938 save percentage and a pair of shutouts. He also has been nails in potential series-clinching games.
Again, obviously the end goal is much bigger than Rask bringing home the Conn Smythe. But the fact that he could be in the running for it even if the Bruins lose goes to show how reliable he has been this postseason.
Thumbnail photo via Billy Hurst/USA TODAY Sports Images