Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cam Ward Is A Poor Conn Smythe Choice

Right now, I support Chris Pronger as Conn Smythe favorite, though could be convinced that Rod Brind'Amour, Eric Staal or Cory Stillman are deserving depending upon how the rest of the playoffs go. One name I do not support is Cam Ward, though goal10der asked about him. Typically, the goaltender on the Stanley Cup winning team is a very good candidate for the Conn Smythe, though not this year (assuming of course Carolina wins). The Conn Smythe should go to the MVP of the playoffs. The MVP should, at the very least, have been the player in his position who played the best during the playoffs. The best defenceman in the playoffs has been Chris Pronger. The best forward has been one of the Canes three (Brind'Amour, Staal and Stillman) though it is a very close race. The best goaltender hasn't been Cam Ward. I don't see how that position can even be argued. Dwayne Roloson and Ilya Bryzgalov have better saves percentages while facing more shots in Roloson's case and roughly the same in Bryzgalov's case per minute. I would also argue that Ryan Miller of Buffalo outplayed Ward in their semifinal series, though I cannot make a statistical argument to show Miller has been superior. How can you be playoff MVP and not the best goalie in the playoffs? It doesn't make sense. I do not support Cam Ward for Conn Smythe. I suppose it might be still possible for him to win my support. Maybe it would take two more shutout wins in his next two games that include lots of overtime, but its unlikely.

your an idiot ward is unreal
From an Edmontoinian and fellow Goalie that knows Cam.....shows how much you know. CAM WARD IS THE '07 CONN SMYTHE WINNER. And he deserves every bit of it.
I don't think you quite understand. The MVP of the playoffs goes to the most valuable player in the playoffs, NOT the best statistical player. Sure Bryzgalov has a better save percentage but look where his team ended up. Cam Ward was an untested playoff rookie and played phenomenal during the playoffs after Gerber faltered in round 1. Cam Ward deserves that trophy more than any one. Pull your head out of your stat book and actually pay attention to what goes on in the playoffs. Obviously you have never laced up the blades in your life or for that matter stood between the pipes and felt the pressure of carrying your team to a stanley cup championship. Wow you are retarted.
You're more of a stat-head than the Conn Smythe voters and most hockey fans. There's no question that Ward deserved that trophy. No one else was as consistent throughout the playoffs as he was. Not Brindy, not Pronger, not Miller, not Brodeur. You might want to rethink your position on this one. Someday you'll be really embarrassed that you even thought this.
For some reason this position of mine has really struck a nerve - anonymous fans cannot handle that I don't think Cam Ward is a good Conn Smythe choice. I actually deleted the very first response because it was expletive filled and other than calling me several names contained no argument whatsoever.

I have always defined MVP as the guy who would have earned the most "win shares" (this is a a baseball term from Bill James where he breaks down what a player did for his team and in a way that strongly correlates with winning games) were hockey a game that could be broken down that well statistically (it isn't).

I just don't see how Ward led his team let alone the league. I don't see how Ward led his position let alone the league.

I think the choice of Ward was because voters didn't know who to vote for. They thought about Staal (who was better in the playoffs as a whole) but in some key games he wasn't the best player. They thought about Brind'Amour (who was also better in the playoffs as a whole than Ward) but in games 5 and 6 of the finals he wasn't a standout. They thought about Oiler players. But since the Oilers lost they decided not to. They really didn't know who to vote for so they chose the Hurricane goalie.

Sure Cam Ward played well in the playoffs, but he wasn't even the most dominant goalie throughout most of it. He had several games along the way that were nothing special (finals game 5, semifinals game 2 and 3, New Jersey game 4 are the biggest examples). He wasn't the dominant player at any point. Dwayne Roloson was much more dominant in Edmonton, though he got hurt. Ilya Bryzgalov was much more dominant, though his team didn't make the finals. Ward was lucky enough to be behind the team that won and still be standing when the playoffs ended. He wasn't even the best goalie in the playoffs that he was named MVP.

Two players made huge contributions to defensively they are Chris Pronger and Rod Brind'Amour. These defensive contributions don't show up on this statsheet (that I am accused of worshipping) but I recognize them. I recognize them in part from having played hockey. These were the guys who truly led their teams. Despite all he did that did not easily show up statistically, Chris Pronger put up a great set of stats as well. He led his team in scoring as a defenceman. He led his team in +/- as well. Had his team managed to win one more game there would be no question he deserves MVP - and no mention of Ward.

When we put these playoffs into perspective, I think they will be remembered first as a transition year, were some not too spectacular teams made the final in the first year back from a lockout. I think neither team is a "team for the ages". I think as far as individual players go, it will be remembered most for the contribution of Pronger. He is the man who brought the Oilers to within one game of the finals. It will be somewhat like the 1999 finals where Dominik Hasek brought the Sabres there but since he didn't win the cup they gave the Conn Smythe to Joe Nieuwendyk.

Ward will be remembered. He is the goalie who won the cup. But he is not the reason his team got to win the cup. He may have played very well, but he was not even his team MVP.
Wardo played well, but may be the first Conn Smyther to get benched during the playoffs. Brindy, Staal, Stillman were put on the ice for every shift possible.
Did you see the montreal series? Game 3 on that series is a perfect example of why he derves MVP. Canes do not become champions if he does not take the team on his back and makes UNBELIVEABLE saves in that series. Stats do not always tell the whole story. Sure you can make cases for others but goaltending wins championships.
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