Hockey is the ultimate team game, which is what makes the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded annually to the playoff's most valuable player, such an anomaly.
Individual versus team award?
Most winners will tell you that, as kids, they lie awake dreaming about the
A lot of years, voters have a hard time coming up with a single standout candidate for the Conn Smythe, another of the aspects that made the
In the end, the trophy went to forward
The selection was completely understandable.
Until the final series against the
But as Williams pointed out afterward, there were a lot of other possible candidates.
"Up and down our lineup, you can make a case for any line, any 'D' pair," said Williams. "That's not just blowing smoke. That's the God's honest truth. To be singled out like that, have my teammates give me an applause, be genuinely excited for me, that was the most special thing."
As Williams noted, you could also make good-to-excellent cases on behalf of five other players on the Kings' roster, beginning with defenseman Drew Doughty.
Doughty played the most minutes of any player in the NHL playoffs (747 minutes and 33 seconds), the most by any player in a playoff year since ice time was added as an official stat in 1997-98, and was Kings Coach
At various times in these playoffs, center
Tellingly, Gaborik joined a former Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Claude Lemieux, as the only players in NHL history to record more goals in the playoffs than the regular season after scoring a minimum of 10 regular-season goals. And what of the 2012 winner,
In all, Williams scored 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 26 games and led all players in multi-point games (seven) and plus-minus (plus-13). He also led all scorers in the Stanley Cup Final, with seven points in five games. His name will be engraved alongside legends from Jean Beliveau to
"I thought there were a lot of candidates, you could give that award to the whole team," Doughty said. "Justin deserved it. He played well for us the whole playoffs, especially in the finals, and he deserved it. But our whole team played well and helped him get that award as well."
"He's been around for so long," Martinez said. "He's such a great leader in the room. He can do a lot of special things with the puck. He seems like he's always got the puck on a string. Obviously, you guys have [called] him, Mr. Game 7, I think I've called him that a couple times too, but I couldn't be happier for him."
When Williams was asked, if someone had told him that the Kings would win the Stanley Cup after falling behind three games to the Sharks in the opening round, he said: "Things looked bleak for us. But we were able to channel our inner will. We just didn't want to go away. The term 'one at a time' certainly applied to us that series.
"What we went through to get to this point, to win the Stanley Cup, is pretty emotional and special — and we'll never forget it."