Looking back at Butch Goring's Conn Smythe winning post-season for the NY Islanders

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders
Boston Bruins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Hoisting the Stanley Cup is the culmination of one of the greatest achievements in all of professional sports, but just before the captain of the team takes Lord Stanley for a skate around the rink, the Conn Smythe Award, handed out to the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs is presented.

On May 21, 1981, the New York Islanders captured back-to-back Stanley Cups, defeating the Minnesota North Stars with a 5-1 win at the Nassau Coliseum. The winner of the Conn Smythe was Robert "Butch" Goring, the missing piece of the championship puzzle that had joined the team in March of 1980 and helped them win their first Stanley Cup one year earlier.

"I never really dreamed about winning that kind of an award," said Goring after the game, his face showing off the cuts and bruises synonymous with a deep playoff run. "Those type of hockey players are in a different class than I am."

"I didn't break any records. I just did the things that I've always done all my life," Goring said. "All I try to do is work hard and do the things I thought were necessary to win the Stanley Cup."

Goring was humbled by winning in part because of how deserving some of his teammates were that post-season. Most notably, Mike Bossy who scored 17 goals and had 35 points in 20 games. Meanwhile, Goring had 10 goals and 10 assists during the playoff run; stellar numbers but far off the nearly two points per-game pace of Bossy. Bryan Trottier, the 1980 Conn Smythe winner also put up huge numbers, collecting 29 points in 18 games.

However, Goring was a stand-out in the series against the North Stars, scoring a hat trick in Game 3, a crucial 7-5 win in Minnesota, and then two more goals in the clinching Game 5 on home ice. In a career that is Hall-of-Fame worthy in the minds of many, winning the Conn Smythe was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, personal achievement for No. 91.