Henrik Zetterberg tied Sidney Crosby for the lead in playoff points and took home the Conn Smythe as well. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Congratulations to the Red Wings on a well-deserved Stanley Cup championship.
Despite a pair of lackluster games to start the final, the Detroit-Pittsburgh tilt lived up to its billing as one of the best series in recent memory. Game 5 will go down as one of hockey’s classics.
As I’ve done for each of the ’08 playoff rounds, here are my selections for the cream of the crop, based solely on play in the final.
Most Valuable Player – Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit
Does Zetterberg have a better nickname I’m not aware of? Players this good shouldn’t simply be called ‘Hank.’ The Swede’s Cup final performance put the effort of his big-gun counterpart to shame, and that’s saying a lot because Sidney Crosby was pretty good, too. Zetterberg didn’t pile up the points against Pittsburgh – not that averaging a point per game is anything to sneeze at – but production alone doesn’t tell the whole story. The 27-year-old was a menace to the Pens, creating and taking away scoring chances on every shift.
Honorable mentions: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh; Chris Osgood, Detroit
Best Player – Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit
See above. And add that I think his nickname from this day forth should be ‘Style.’ Apt, I believe, for both his on and off ice persona.
Honorable mentions: Niklas Kronwall, Detroit; Marian Hossa, Pittsburgh
Best Goalie – Chris Osgood, Detroit
This was a tough one. Fleury was unbelievable at times, especially during Game 5’s 55-save performance-for-the-ages. However, he let through a few suspect tallies. Osgood, on the other hand, was simply solid and made crucial stops when he had to. In case you were wondering, I’m still on the fence whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Honorable mentions: Err…
Best Defenseman – Niklas Kronwall, Detroit
As far as I’m concerned, this is an upset of Pittsburgh-Islanders circa 1993 proportions. Could this signal the changing of the Ni(c)klas guard in Detroit? Lidstrom has plenty of game left in his 38-year-old-body – if you need proof, watch him grab his sixth Norris six days from now – but he always figured to be a shoo-in top blueliner. The fact Kronwall is peaking just as Lidstrom is entering the dusk of his career is great news for Wings fans.
Honorable mentions: Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit; Brooks Orpik, Pittsburgh
Top Rookie – Tyler Kennedy, Pittsburgh
He didn’t hit the scoresheet, but he played the role of agitator and never backed down. In a series where only three freshmen hit the ice, Kennedy gets the nod over Darren Helm, despite the fact he posted a goal and two points.
Honorable mentions: Darren Helm, Detroit; Kristopher Letang, Pittsburgh
For those of you keeping track at home, here are the final standings from our staff predictions for the ’08 playoffs.
Edward Fraser, THN.com Editor: 13-2
Ryan Dixon, Writer/Copy Editor: 11-4
Jason Kay, Editor: 10-5
Jamie Hodgson, Art Director: 9-6
Ken Campbell, Senior Writer: 9-6
Matt Filion, Designer: 9-6
Mike Brophy, Senior Writer: 8-7
Adam Proteau, Web Columnist: 8-7
Ryan Kennedy, Writer/Copy Editor: 8-7
Rory Boylen, Web Content Specialist: 8-7
Caroline Andrews, Publisher: 8-7
THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
Edward Fraser is the editor of thehockeynews.com. His blog normally appears Thursdays.
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