MONTREAL – The votes have been cast, the ballots have been counted, and only Mike Condon is left standing.
As both an NHL rookie and a first-time Play of the Year nominee, pundits weren’t sure just how far Condon could go in this year’s bracket. However, after learning the tricks of the goaltending trade behind reigning league MVP Carey Price, the 26-year-old Massachusetts native ended the regular season armed with five entries into the 2015-16 competition.
His golden ticket to the POTY finals came in the form of a jaw-dropping diving save on Boston Bruins forward Ryan Spooner during the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The stop was made even more spectacular by the fact that it came with just one second remaining in the second period.
Though the victory was sweet, the road to POTY glory wasn’t easy.
For example, a tough first-round matchup against fellow netminder Ben Scrivens set up a second-round showdown against, interestingly enough, Condon himself. Fortunately, he showed why he’s been applauded time and again throughout his career for his mental toughness. He went on to survive the dreaded Condon vs. Condon battle in round two.
Though he only played 12 games during the 2015-16 campaign, Price was a serious threat to capture the POTY trophy for a third consecutive year. A battle of the blue-paint highlighted round three as Condon and Price went head-to-head with the rookie coming away victorious.
In the semis, the fans voted once again and helped Condon take down Alex Galchenyuk to reach the POTY finals against Alexei Emelin and his explosive bone-crunching hit on Paul Stastny of the St. Louis Blues.
In the end, nearly 60 percent of voters believed Condon’s cross-crease steal was this season’s Play of the Year.
With that, a new king has been crowned for the 2015-16 season!
Sources say that Condon has no plans on retiring undefeated and will definitely be looking to pile up highlight-reel saves for the 2016-17 POTY bracket.
Play of the Year: 2015-16
Play of the year 2014-15: The winner
Play of the year 2013-14: The winner
Play of the year 2012-13: The winner