Once again the chase for the most coveted and hardest won trophy in sports is upon us. Sixteen teams each hoping to play through all four of the toughest rounds of competition there is to emerge from the other side and raise Lord Stanley's Cup.
The Stanley Cup is the only prize these players have their eyes set on. However there is another trophy awarded when it is all said and done, that is the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the Most Valuable Player of the play-offs.
Nick Lidstrom has won it before in 2002, the last time the Red Wings won the cup. Back then Nick was just beginning to come into his own on his rise into the stratosphere of the all time elite player. Today his name is spoken in the same breath with those of Orr and Harvey and Bourque as one of the all time greatest defense-men to ever play the game.
Nick should also be considered for a Hart trophy for the regular season MVP, but so far has passed over. There are those who have stated that he simply plays on a team with too many stars to make him stand out. But in the play-offs those talking heads can't keep him down.
When this years play-offs are over, win or lose the cup, no matter how far the Red Wings make it in the play-offs, there is one man that wears the 'C' for Detroit and leads them in the same way as The Captain did before him, that will have led them there. He will have done it by playing the constant excellence that is the only way he knows how to play. He will have done it by leading by example as he has for so many years, even before he became captain. He will have done it by showing us all true determination and passion for the game itself.
It is for those reason that Nick Lidstrom should be this years Conn Smythe trophy winner.