Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/14/14 at 08:57 AM ET
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,
It was wild. It was unpredictable. The action went back and forth and up and down the ice all night long. Pucks clinked off the goal post and the crossbar … one, two, three, four times in overtime. It was one team, the New York Rangers, playing for its playoff life, against another team, the Los Angeles Kings, aching to celebrate a second Stanley Cup championship in three years on home ice.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Doughty and Kings teammate Jeff Carter became only the seventh and eighth players in the history of the sport to win Olympic gold and a Stanley Cup in the same year, joining Ken Morrow, Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook in the ultra-rare club.
"Yeah, it's been a long year," a clearly exhausted Doughty said in the post-Cup celebration. "A lot of games. I'm pretty tired right now. But it feels good. Never thought it'd be possible to win both in the same year, let alone one. So I'm very happy and excited."
A few feet away, there was a proud father, Paul Doughty, who was trying to soak in what his 24-year-old son had just accomplished in the past calendar year.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Those tears. Once they started they just wouldn’t stop.
To understand how deep the emotional well of this special Los Angeles Kings team was, you only needed to look at the puffy red eyes of Justin Williams on Friday night. This was the third time he lifted the Stanley Cup. This should have been old hat.
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
When Dean Lombardi called Darryl Sutter to take over the Kings in December of 2011, Sutter later recalled that he was probably in the barn at the family farm in Viking, Alta. “I wasn’t shovelling s---, I remember that,” he said, “but I had that day. Was probably warming up. It was cold.”
He lives in Los Angeles during the winters now, where shovelling s--- usually means something else entirely. He has crafted a team that does not panic, that plays superb positional hockey, that battles again and again, whatever the weather. This hockey team is some kind of farm machine, and it earned this. Sutter, and the Kings, came a long way. They came all the way here.
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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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