Sidney Crosby was rewarded for his strong postseason with the Pittsburgh Penguins by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoff MVP.
This was Crosby’s first Conn Smythe Trophy and his second Stanley Cup. In his first Cup run in 2009, teammate Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe.
Crosby wasn’t exactly a virtuoso scorer for the Penguins this playoffs, but he didn’t need to be.
"There are so many guys who contributed, to be honest. I look at this as a total team effort. I tried to work hard every night, do my job just like everyone else," Crosby said. "I don't know if I did anything different or specific. I think everyone just competed, everyone tried to do what's expected of them, tried to play their role. If you do that every night, we have a pretty good chance of winning."
He had 19 points in 24 games, which ranked second on the team behind Phil Kessel. But it was his all-around play, timely scoring and leadership that probably won over voters. Crosby scored the Game 2 overtime winner against the Tampa Bay Lightning and diagramed his team’s overtime winner in Game 2 that helped give Pittsburgh the 2-0 cushion in the Cup Final.
"There's more to just winning games than scoring goals. It feels great, it's important. That's what our job is. But there's a lot of other things that go into it," Crosby said. "Just making sure that you don't sacrifice all those other things to push for a goal here or there, that was the biggest thing. We had trust and confidence whoever it needed to be was going to make that big play, whether it was a goal, a save, a power play. You see tonight, the other unit goes out there and gets a huge goal for us. We have trust, and that's what you need to win."
Throughout the Cup Final, coach Mike Sullivan never had to hide Crosby from matchups. Crosby often went up against Logan Couture or Joe Thornton and carried the play thoughout the series.
He had two assists in Pittsburgh's Game 6 Cup clinching win, including a helper on Kris Letang's game-winning goal in the second period. Crosby had four points this series -- all assists.
"He's the captain for a reason, he's the leader. I think it trickles down from him. There are so many great leaders on this team. Everybody spoke up at the right time. Everybody led with their actions and it all starts with him," forward Nick Bonino said in a postgame interview with NBC Sports Network. "Seeing him on the puck in the offensive zone this playoff, you couldn't get it off him and there were times in a game where you really needed to see that to help a guy's confidence and you saw it tonight. He was a beast on the puck and a very well deserved Conn Smythe."
Crosby underwent a remarkable turnaround this season to get to this point. Before the Penguins fired Mike Johnston Crosby had 19 points in his first 28 games.
After Johnston was replaced by Sullivan, Crosby notched 66 points in his last 52 games and was voted a finalist for the Hart Trophy.
"Mike came in and made it pretty clear how he wanted us to play, what he expected from each individual guy. I think guys just welcomed the opportunity, welcomed the challenge, tried to get back on track," Crosby said. "It took some time. Didn't happen overnight. But March was a big month for us. We knew we had to get a big push to get in the playoffs. We knew once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen. We were playing good at the right time."
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