Hockey fans have been treated to some remarkable performances this post-season, making for interesting Conn Smythe conversations all spring.
The consensus around the hockey world seems to have settled on four names contending for playoff MVP honours: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby if the Washington Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup, and Marc-Andre Fleury should the Vegas Golden Knights rally back from a 3-1 series deficit.
If it were up to Don Cherry, he’d give it to Holtby.
“To me, he’s the MVP,” Cherry said Thursday night. “Boy, is he a beauty. Knows what he’s doing.”
Holtby struggled throughout much of the regular season, and even started the playoffs on Washington’s bench with Philipp Grubauer getting the nod in Round 1’s opening game. But he got hot at the perfect time, backstopping the Capitals all the way to the Final with a 2.13 goals against average and .923 save percentage while posting plenty of highlight-reel saves along the way.
After rebounding from a five-goal Game 1, he’s been dialed in and almost unsolveable.
“The only way you’re going to beat Holtby is if you get a guy in front,” Cherry said. “He’s the MVP, as far as I’m concerned.”