It took 87 games, but the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs have been competed and the Pittsburgh Penguins are the first repeat champions of the salary cap era (and the first back-to-back winners in nearly two decades). Following a brief vote among the writing staff here at The Hockey Writers, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been selected as the second recipient of the Jean Beliveau Award as the most valuable player in the National Hockey League’s post-season.
The focal point of the Penguins’ system in arguably all three zones, Crosby faced the shutdown lines and pairings of every team that Pittsburgh faced in the postseason. Crosby was second to teammate Evgeni Malkin in playoff scoring, though Malkin played one more game than Crosby and so Crosby had a points-per-game edge. The product of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia had eight goals and 19 assists en route to his third Stanley Cup championship. He edged Malkin out by a single vote to capture the award.
Our version of the Conn Smythe Award, the Jean Beliveau Award is named after Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau, whose name is on the Stanley Cup 17 times (10 as a player, 7 as an executive), more than any other individual.