The victory comes after winning the second Stanley Cup of his career, seven years to the day of his first win in 2009.
Crosby is just the ninth player in NHL history to hold two Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals. Igor Larionov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Peter Forsberg, Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, and Drew Doughty are the other members of that elite club.
But this is the first Conn Smythe Trophy for Crosby, who had 19 points in the 2016 post-season – including six goals and 13 assists.
He is the first team captain and the first centre to win the Conn Smythe since Jonathan Toews in 2010. Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe when Pittsburgh snagged their 2009 Cup.
This time around, the Penguins played a team-oriented game. That speaks to Crosby’s leadership, as he didn’t take over a game but was always present and was always doing the little things right. Whether it was a well-timed shot block or a defensive chip that took the puck out of trouble, the Cole Harbour native had his head on a swivel and was one of the most well-rounded players in the post-season.
Of course, Crosby’s accomplishments shouldn’t be in doubt. He has two Cups, two Olympic gold medals, a 2015 IIHF World Championship gold medal, a 2005 World Junior Championship gold medal, and two Hart Trophy victories (2007, 2014).
The Penguins had many candidates for the Conn Smythe, like goalie Matt Murray or forward Phil Kessel or defenceman Kris Letang. Murray had 15 post-season wins on his way to the Cup, while Kessel put up a dynamite performance with 22 points. Letang was almost always on the ice and scored the Cup-winning goal.
“There’s so many guys, [Murray], Phil, [Letang],” Crosby said. “So many guys stepped up. Every series, different guys stepped up and got big goals, big saves. Our penalty kill was unbelievable against a really good power play. It was truly a team effort, and that’s what it takes to win that one.”