MONTREAL – Thirty-two plays, 21 goals, 11 outstanding defensive efforts. And at the end, just one winner left standing.
Every spring, fans worldwide tune in for a highly-anticipated tournament that pits the year’s best players against each other in a head-to-head, single-elimination tournament that names but one victor.
No, we’re not talking about March Madness…it’s the ninth-annual Canadiens Play of the Year Tournament.
Click here to see the Play of the Year bracket
Once again we place this important decision in your trusted hands, for only you, the fans, can determine if this year’s top play was one of Byron or Flynn’s shorthanded beauties, a jaw-dropping save by Condon, or maybe a seeing-eye Galchenyuk snipe.
Can Carey Price repeat as champion for the third-consecutive season? Should the former league MVP bring home the hardware for the sixth time in the last eight years, Price will be embarking on a POTY Championship run that hasn’t been seen since the Canadiens’ Stanley Cup dynasties of the 1970’s.
With three mind-boggling entries in this year’s bracket, Price will absolutely have a shot at pulling off a three-peat. Time will tell how far the netminder’s acrobatic diving save against the New York Rangers on October 15 will go in this year’s bracket.
While Las Vegas odds-makers have yet to weigh in on this year’s crop of favorites, P.K. Subban is a clear front-runner in the effort to dethrone Price. Although Subban has suffered back-to-back defeats in the POTY finals against his padded teammate, perhaps the third time will be the charm for the All-Star blue-liner. Luckily, Subban has an ace up his sleeve with 2015-16 POTY goaltending lovers, owning a goal-line stick save of his own in the 32-play bracket.
While there’s always added pressure for the player receiving the most nominations heading into POTY voting, 30-goal scorer Alex Galchenyuk rides into the tournament with confidence with his team-leading 12 different entries in this year’s event.
No word yet if Galchenyuk is already building a shelf in his memorabilia room to make room for a POTY trophy for the sole purpose of making his good friend Brendan Gallagher jealous. POTY fans will recall that Gallagher took home top honors in 2012-13 thanks to his highlight-reel first career NHL goal, narrowly besting Lars Eller in that year’s final.
Rookie netminder Mike Condon may have been inspired to throw his hat into the Play of the Year ring after Price showed him his collection of impressive NHL hardware, including his two POTY trophies.
There are also a few new names entering this year’s POTY tournament, with first-timers Paul Byron, Daniel Carr, and Ben Scrivens looking to pull off an upset this spring.
There is clearly much on the line in this year’s POTY, which is why your vote means more than ever before. You can vote as many times as you’d like, so keep checking the 2015-16 bracket to keep up to date on who is moving on in each head-to-head match-up.
To cast your vote please click here to access the 2015-16 POTY bracket. And don’t forget; with great power, comes great responsibility!
2015-16 Play of the Year Bracket
Winner: 2014-15 Play of the Year