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Post: America is betting on Bobrovsky. Is the Russian goalkeeper considered the best in the NHL?


The American media cited the Russian Bobrovsky as the favorite for the title of MVP of the NHL playoffs.

The Stanley Cup final not only determines the best club of the National Hockey League (NHL) season, but also the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, the award for the most valuable player of the playoffs. The award has been given since 1965 based on voting results by members of the Professional Hockey Journalists Association after the decisive match of the tournament. Most often, the “Conn Smythe Cup” – or as they like to say “horse” in Russia – is received by the player of the winning team. In the entire history of the Stanley Cup, only five cases were recorded where the MVP of the playoffs was recognized by a representative of the losing finalist club, and only once of these the award went to an outfielder.

Among the Russian Conn Smythe winners today are three hockey players:

  • Evgeni Malkin (2009);

  • Alexander Ovechkin (2018);

  • Andrey Vasilevsky (2021).

On the eve of the 2023 Stanley Cup final between the Florida Panthers and the Vegas Golden Knights, leading North American media shared their predictions for both the outcome of the series and the owner of the horse. Among the main contenders for the prize is Russian Panthers goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky. The 34-year-old Russian has an outstanding playoff, 11 wins in 14 games (13 in the starting line-up), 93.5% of the shots on goal and a knockout. For Bob, this final will be a first in his overseas career. The mighty Boston Bruins have already outstripped the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes. No one excludes that Sergei can do the same with the Golden Knights.

Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky - RIA Novosti, 1920, 25.05.2023

Bobrovsky wept with happiness. Russian hero in the Stanley Cup final!

“It’s almost impossible to beat him”

The NHL’s official website conducted a poll of its contributing writers and editors, most favoring Bobrovsky. Six out of 16 voted “horse” for Sergey.

Amalia Benjamin, William Douglas, Tom Gulitti, Pete Jensen, Adam Kimelman, and Dave Stubbs voted for Bobrovsky. All of them believe that Florida will win the Stanley Cup in six games of the series, and Bobrovsky will become the main character of the playoffs.

  • “By beating the Hurricanes, the Panthers did exactly what they needed to do to win the Stanley Cup Finals: they put Sergey Bobrovsky on a rest because, as he showed in this playoff, when Bobrovsky is rested and ready, it’s impossible to win,” says Benjamin.

  • “The Panthers’ Stanley Cup run is one of the greatest Cinderella stories in the NHL. They have what it takes to beat the Golden Knights in the Finals. Two-time Vezina Cup winner Bobrovsky has been indecisive. He’s been dominating the playoffs like never before, this time around.” adds Jensen.

Russian goalkeeper Florida Panthers Sergey Bobrovsky - RIA Novosti, 1920, 31.05.2023

Bobrovsky was named favorite in the fight for the title of MVP of the Stanley Cup.

“Bob is the main reason Florida went this far”

The well-known portal The Athletic simultaneously published several materials with predictions. Columnists Sean Gentill, Hayley Salvian, Shayna Goldman and Jesse Granger believe that if Florida wins, Bobrovsky or Tkachuk will take the MVP award in the playoffs. Bob’s chance of a “knight” is estimated at 62.2% versus 37.8%. With the “Vegas” victory in the final, Bobrovsky’s personal success is estimated by journalists of The Athletic as below – 2.7%, with Jack Eichel (73.8%) in the leading position.

“The $10 million-a-year player seems to be a $10 million-a-year player in the end. Bobrovsky was just as good as the Panthers needed for a comeback in the series against Boston. Since then, Sergey has been an irresistible and invincible force. He turned into a brick. Bob is the main reason the Panthers went this far in the playoffs. Whether the Panthers won or not, his performance was enough to win Conn Smythe,” writes one of the publication’s materials.

“You can write your name in history”

Serious conversations about Bobrovsky as one of the main contenders of the “Conn Smythe Cup” began to be actively held in the final series of the East against “Carolina”. Then the Sporting News portal, citing bookmakers, published a list of favorites in pursuit of prizes, and Sergey, according to his predictions, had the best chance of success.

“Bobrovsky may be the seventh goalkeeper in NHL history to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. He’s ready to make his name in history and for that the Russian needs to perform well in the Stanley Cup final,” the note says.

According to bookies, Bobrovsky’s closest follower is Jack Eichel. It was only followed by Mark Stone, Matthew Tkachuk and Jonathan Marchesseau, who were said to have significantly lower chances of success.

American just got one more vote

But there are ratings in which the leader is not Bobrovsky. Prominent journalist Greg Wyshinsky has published an article on the ESPN website containing the results of a poll among a dozen hockey journalists, placing him in second place among the top 10 main contenders for Russian Florida goalkeeper Conn Smythe. Sergey only lost to teammate Tkachuk.

“Bobrovsky played well enough to win the series against Boston, leading to a win against Toronto and a decisive blow to the Carolinas. Sergey is one of only two players to top the standings. Tkachuk has been placed higher because of that alone. “The difference between him and Bobrovsky is small, but right now there is no better story for the NHL than Tkachuk. After all, after a summer trade to Florida, he became the face of the franchise,” he says.

The preference for the American forward “Panthers” is given by Sportsnet writers, who also put Bobrovsky in second place. Rounding out the top 3 is Jack Eichel from Vegas.

“Tkachuk scored 21 points this playoff, more than any player on either finalist team. Matthew more than deserves a Conn Smythe win. Even if Florida loses in the finals, he’ll likely repeat the feat of Reggie Leach, who came in 1976, and so on. Stanley He is the only fielder to win Conn Smythe after losing the Cup Final.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Ivan Barbashev (left) and Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (right) - RIA Novosti, 1920, 30.05.2023

The Stanley Cup will have a new presenter. The best stars of Russia will compete in the final

Source: Ria

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