Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Los Angeles Kings did it. Somehow, some way, they claimed their second Stanley Cup in three years. Despite facing three games sevens, despite losing their first three games of the playoffs, the Kings overcame all to be crowned as, well, kings of the NHL. And the absurd unlikelihood of that accomplishment should not be overlooked.
Entering the playoffs, the Kings were one of the more highly regarded teams, being given almost universal 10/1 odds to win by odds makers found on Gambling.com. An alarmingly poor start to their series with the San Jose Sharks dropped those odds so precipitously that even after the Kings had rebounded to force game seven in that series, they were still only sitting at 15/1 to win it all. Following their epic comeback from three games to none down against San Jose, many would expect the Kings to be physically and emotionally drained. Then they played another seven game series. And another after that. The odds of a team, especially in a low-scoring sport like hockey, coming away with victories in every one of those seven game sets is mind-boggling.
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
The Kings and Hawks are really good teams, and both will be contenders for years to come. But dynasties? No. You won’t see another NHL dynasty. There’s too much parity. Just look at how good the Western Conference is. You’ve got the Kings and Hawks at the top. You’ve got the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues, powers in their own right. You’ve got the up-and-coming Colorado Avalanche and the fast-rising Minnesota Wild.
‘‘It’s a war out here,’’ Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said. ‘‘Just getting through this conference every year is going to be like this. . . . The matchup with Chicago, the two teams were so dead-on. If you look at it on paper, it’s a seven-game series every year. They’re so similar to us. And the way they’re set up, they’re not going anywhere. They’ve set the benchmark. We had to reach it.’’
That’s what these teams are. They’re the benchmarks, the model franchises everyone else is gunning for and striving to be. That’s good enough. Don’t dumb down the ‘‘D’’ word just because the current incarnation of the sport doesn’t allow for
total domination. Just appreciate the Kings and Hawks for what they are — well-built, well-run and well-coached teams that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
from Justin A. Cohn of the Journal Gazette,
Despite being a remarkable player, Robbie Laird only got to one NHL game.
He’s more than made up for that in his post-playing career. He hoisted the Stanley Cup for a second time Friday as a senior pro scout with the Los Angeles Kings.
“It’s amazing. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this organization,” said Laird, a Fort Wayne resident and former coach and player with the Komets....
“We have a great group of staff members here, and when you win something like this, it draws you closer together,” Laird said in a telephone interview Saturday as he prepared to go to a celebratory breakfast with other members of the franchise.
“When you’re part of a championship team, I think you remember what it took to win and all the hours you put in. The relationships usually last forever. It feels great, and it’s amazing what the guys accomplished.”
from Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News,
One minute later, Richards was asked if there were pride in the Rangers’ accomplishments, despite how it all had crashed down.
“There will be,” Richards said. “Not tonight. But there will be. Tonight’s not a night to reminisce. But there will a time this summer when you think back about what an amazing run it was. It has to be amazing to get this far: To come together, and no one will ever know except for us how fun it was and how we came together. But you lose three games in overtime in the final, it’s tough to explain.”
What seemed to hurt the Rangers the most was how close they felt they had been. The series ended 4-1 Kings, but the Blueshirts had led all three games in Los Angeles that they eventually lost, all in extra time.
They couldn’t believe it was over.
“We all want to go back onto the ice,” center Derick Brassard said.
Chris Kreider was angry, pacing a bit to the side behind where Richards had conducted his interview. Further back to the right corner, Derek Stepan sat crushed at his locker.
“It sucks right now. This is so tough to swallow,” said Stepan, who has not been able to swallow solid food since breaking his jaw in the Eastern Conference Final against Montreal.
On the other side, the LA Kings talked about winning the Stanley Cup while still on the ice, watch below...
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 14, 2014 – The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup last night with a double-overtime 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. The thrilling contest averaged 6.0 million viewers; making it the most-watched Game 5 in six years and helping NBC win the night in primetime, according to Fast National data from The Nielsen Company. Los Angeles and New York both scored their second-best local-market ratings ever for an NHL game on NBC or NBCSN.
We'll close out this season with the Stanley Cup game winning goal called by Jim Hughson of Hockey Night in Canada.
added 2:24pm, The French version of the goal by RDS is below...
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
They fought to the end, showed a ton of heart. But the Rangers got as far as heart can get you in this Stanley Cup Final that ended in double overtime in Game 5 Friday night.
The Kings, champions in two of the last three seasons, have the will. The Rangers were in no mood to think about lessons learned in a solemn, red-eyed visitors' locker room as the Kings celebrated on the ice, but the biggest one the many Final neophytes should take away is this:
You need will to win a Cup.
Heart and effort gets you plenty. The Rangers, of course, have tons of skill, too, primarily in goal, where Henrik Lundqvist could have stolen a few Conn Smythe votes as playoff MVP had he stolen Game 5.
But the Kings are built on will. They wear teams down. And even with three overtime victories in a series that was far tighter than any five-game series could be, the Kings wore down the Rangers, especially in the third periods of games.
from Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post,
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
This is a strange, new world for hockey fans, one in which the Kings — a symbol of NHL futility from their birth in 1967 until they won their first Cup two years ago — have become perennial contenders for hockey's greatest prize.
"I think people can look at us a little differently now that we've done what we've done in the last couple years," said defenseman Jake Muzzin, one of the young players who took on increased responsibility and handled suffocating pressure with impressive ease.
What they did this spring was astounding. It was also in distinct contrast with two years ago, when they cruised to the championship with only four losses in four rounds.
from Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Register,
It all came together in 2012, when the Kings snuck into the playoffs as the West’s No. 8 seed and won. Now they’re Cup champions again. Lombardi didn’t want to build a one-year wonder, and he hasn’t.
“People told me the second one is tougher and, in a way, more rewarding,” Lombardi said. “I think I know what they meant now. It’s incredible. It’s a privilege to be associated with these guys.”
Students of Kings history will remember that in 1993, in search of their first Stanley Cup, the Kings lost three overtime games to Montreal. This time, the Kings beat the Rangers in Games 1, 2 and 5 in overtime. The Rangers, vanquished, were three breaks away from glory.
“You go into this hoping that you don't regret anything,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We put it out there. We gave our best shot, best effort. Three games here all went to OT. What can I say?”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider with the full transcript of Darryl Sutter post-game,
On an inclination in 2012 that the team would be capable of winning multiple Cups:
We did it a different way in ’11-12. That’s something that I don’t think could ever happen again if you go back to that because of winning as a road team all the time. This year was totally different. A lot of new players in our lineup. We knew we had to at some point. During the Olympics, I always thought about this, ‘How are we going to beat Chicago? How are we going to beat Chicago?’ Dean got Gaborik. We were able to put some kids in, go from there.
Alain Vigneault post-game...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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