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Celebrating Achievements in Underachievement

As the playoff action really starts to heat up here in the second round, potential Conn Smythe Trophy winners for playoff MVP are already being bandied about. Before we get too carried away with what the weeks ahead might hold, however, let's pause for a moment and consider the candidates for the Anti-Conn Smythe Trophy - dedicated to those prominent players who suited up for the bright lights of playoff action and promptly disappeared from significance. For those top-dollar superstars who are already rounding into mid-summer golfing form, this award is for you. The nominees are...
Alexei Yashin, New York Islanders
Regular Season: 18 goals, 32 assists +6 Plus/Minus, Salary $7.6 million
Playoffs: 5 games, 0 points, 7 shots with 11:45 TOI/game
Early in the season, it appeared that Islanders coach Ted Nolan had lit a fire inside the perrenially underperforming Russian center, but by the end of the series with Buffalo, New York fans were treated to the same old story, with Yashin shirking responsibility for a lack of results. Now we hear that he's ready to give up the captaincy of the team. He didn't just disappear during the playoffs, it seems like he wanted to disappear as well.

Marian Hossa, Atlanta Thrashers
Regular Season: 43 goals, 57 assists, +18 Plus/Minus, Salary $6 million
Playoffs: 4 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, -6 Plus/Minus, 10 shots with 18:55 TOI/game.
Hossa led the Thrashers to their first division title and playoff berth, generating plenty of excitement for an Atlanta team still trying to establish itself, but once the postseason started, Hossa just got shut down. By the end, the story was nicely summed up by the Falconer over at Thrasher's Talons after the Game Four elimination by the Rangers: "Once again the top regular season line with Hossa and Kovlov was not relevant to the outcome of the game."

Paul Kariya, Nashville Predators
Regular Season:
24 goals, 52 assists, +6 Plus/Minus, Salary $4.5 million
Playoffs: 5 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, -4 Plus/Minus, 10 shots with 19:36 TOI per game.
With all the arena-lease discussion during the course of this year, these playoffs meant more to the success of the Nashville Predators than perhaps any other franchise in the National Hockey League, but when crunch-time came, the first superstar in team history faded into the background.

Kristian Huselius, Calgary Flames
Regular Season:
34 goals, 43 assists, +21 Plus/Minus, Salary $1.4 million
Playoffs: 6 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, -4 Plus/Minus 20 shots with 16:58 TOI/game.
The erstwhile Florida Panther enjoyed a breakout regular season this year, but things turned dramatically for the worse against Detroit. After an assist in each of the first two games, his ice time went up, but the production went down to nothing.

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