Florida Man Victor Hedman a Worthy Conn Smythe Winner
As each hockey participant within the historical past of the world has performed, Victor Hedman turned his private accomplishment right into a group triumph, as a result of no person is much less impressed with themselves than hockey gamers, significantly Swedish ones. Stated anybody on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster would have been a worthy recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy because the MVP of the playoffs. However in one of many closest votes within the historical past of the award, Hedman received out as a result of he had an affect on the playoffs that nearly no defenseman has ever had. (Full disclosure: Hedman was not my first alternative for the award. As one of many 18 individuals privileged to vote, I selected Brayden Level No. 1, with Hedman second and Nikita Kucherov third. I might have had no quarrel with any one of many three profitable.)Hedman performed greater than 26 minutes a recreation. He scored 10 objectives. He was on the ice towards the opponents’ prime strains. Because the Lightning went by way of a conga line of defensemen, Hedman performed with just about everyone and made all of them look good. He was main part of a group that went from, as coach Jon Cooper referred to as it, the best present on ice, to a lock-down, defense-first outfit. And in doing so, he joins a choose group of Conn Smythe-winning defensemen that features Serge Savard, Bobby Orr, Larry Robinson, Al MacInnis, Brian Leetch, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Nicklas Lidstrom and Duncan Keith – and must also embrace Chris Pronger, who was robbed of the award in 2006. All of them are both within the Hockey Corridor of Fame or will likely be and someday Hedman will virtually definitely take his rightful place together with them.When the Lightning misplaced captain Steven Stamkos previous to the primary recreation of the playoffs, and it turned obvious that Stamkos couldn’t be counted upon to be wholesome sufficient to play, Hedman knew it was as much as him to enter beast mode. “Somebody has bought to exchange these objectives,” Hedman stated. “I considered it quite a bit throughout the break. ‘What can I do to enhance my recreation?’ and that’s taking pictures the puck and a few of them discovered the web. On the finish of the day, this isn’t my trophy. That is everybody’s trophy. It’s as simple as that.”Yeah, probably not. In the long run, it got here right down to a alternative amongst Hedman, Level and Kucherov, with goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy as a darkhorse. The Lightning had been 11-Zero when Level scored within the playoffs and so they misplaced the 2 video games he missed with harm. Kucherov established himself as one of many biggest all-time set-up males in NHL playoff historical past. However Hedman took this group that was with out Stamkos and made it his personal. “ ‘Heddy’ has grown as a pacesetter and when ‘Stammer’ wasn’t in a position to be round, ‘Heddy’ stepped to the forefront,” stated Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “Simply to observe this man develop, it’s simply outstanding. He’s so deserving of the Conn Smythe and I do know ‘Stammer’ couldn’t be happier for him.”Stamkos and Hedman had been picked one yr and one choose aside when the Lightning had been NHL bottom-feeders. The yr after Hedman was drafted in 2009, Jeff Vinik purchased the Lightning. He really paid extra for the Marriott Lodge throughout the road from the Amalie Area than he did for the Lightning and the constructing they performed in. A decade later, all three have reached the head. “We’re going to take this to our graves, we’re so pleased,” Hedman stated. “We’re going to be Stanley Cup champs perpetually.”So far as Stamkos is worried, it’s a disgrace he couldn’t have been an even bigger a part of the story. He would have been a stud for Canada’s Olympic group in 2014, however needed to miss the event due to a damaged tibia. In Sport 7 of the Japanese Convention ultimate towards the Boston Bruins in 2011 – the yr the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup – Stamkos was hit within the head by a shot from Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk that restricted his effectiveness. The Bruins received the sport 1-0.So, sure, Stamkos was thrilled for Hedman. The 2 had phrases because the Lightning had been celebrating their triumph. Hedman didn’t recall what was stated, however Stamkos did. “I believe I instructed him I liked him 100 occasions,” Stamkos stated.