May 08, 2008

1966: Roger Crozier vs. J.C. Superstar

The year is 1966. Ace defenseman Jean-Claude Tremblay is the key player as the Montreal Canadiens defend their Stanley Cup championship.

Tremblay leads all Canadiens players in point scored during these playoffs, tallying 11 points including 1 goal and 6 points in the finals against Detroit. His defensive effort was also supreme. He seemed to always be on the ice for the many crucial situations faced in a playoff game.

Despite his efforts and his team's Stanley Cup victory, Tremblay was not named as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP. That honour instead went to goalie Roger Crozier of the runner-up Red Wings. Tremblay was so slighted by the injustice that he reportedly smashed his fist against the dressing room wall and threw a tantrum, towels, sticks and whatever else he could find.

Crozier was amazing that spring, getting the surprising Red Wings into the finals. He actually got the Red Wings a 2-0 lead in the finals series but suffered a leg injury, forcing him to miss game three. Crozier would hobble back into the crease for games 4, 5 and 6, and play valiantly despite the obvious pain and discomfort. Though the Canadiens would take 4 straight to win the series 4-2, Crozier clearly earned admirers for his gutsy performance and was given the second annual Conn Smythe Trophy.

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