Kukla's Korner Hockey
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...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The Cup was on the ice, and the Kings were celebrating. It was 40 minutes after the dagger had been plunged into Lundqvist’s heart, and the franchise goaltender was still wearing his hockey pants, pads and skates. He sat in his stall in the locker room, his hands — left hand still taped — first clasped over his head, then covering his eyes and what had been a vacant stare, the King intermittently shaking his head, perhaps imagining what might have been.
In defeat, this was Lundqvist’s grandest hour, nearly an hour of hockey in which he had made 48 saves and had been a pillar of strength in repelling wave after wave of Kings attacks. But that does not change the outcome. That does not change the fact Lundqvist will go into his 10th NHL season searching for his first Stanley Cup, and the Rangers will start next season 21 years removed from their last title.
Nothing changes that reality for King Henrik.
“I knew going into this series that it would end in tears,” Lundqvist finally said after pausing to collect his thoughts when asked to articulate his emotions. “Tears of joy or tears of heartbreak.
“Right now it’s extremely tough.”
Below, Darryl Sutter and Henrik Lundqvist in the handshake line...
Nick Nickson, radio play-by-play man for the LA Kings with the OT winning goal..
After that goal comes one of the greatest traditions in sports, the handshake line. Watch it below...
The game starts just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBC, CBC and RDS.
Will we have a game 6 on Monday night?
Yesterday I said the New York Rangers will win tonight and nothing has changed my mind.
I know I am probably in the minority, but I sense a Rangers team getting better and the Los Angeles Kings getting a bit frustrated.
Enjoy the game and feel free to discuss the game as it plays out.
from Tracey Myers of CSNChicago,
The Los Angeles Kings have another chance to hoist another Stanley Cup on Friday night, as they have a commanding 3-1 lead on the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final. If they do, it’ll be the second time in three seasons they’ve pulled off the feat.
The Chicago Blackhawks know how they feel, having been Cup winners twice in four seasons, the first team in the salary-cap era to win twice. With that winning comes the inevitable dynasty talk. The Blackhawks heard it last June, and there’s still a chance they could become that dynasty. The same goes for the Kings who, like the Blackhawks, have a strong core, great young players and a solid developmental system. A victory tonight – or in Game 6 or in Game 7 – enhances that talk that much more.
Yes, all that winning earns dynasty talk. It earns respect from others around the league. It also earns a big-old target on those winning teams’ backs that others will be aiming for over the next several years.
For the Blackhawks and Kings, the dynasty road is paved with hazards in the form of the competition. The opposition looks at where the bar is set and tries to reach it with big trades, drafting and better player development. So over the next few seasons, don’t be surprised if hitting that dynasty status – whether that means winning another Stanley Cup, two more Cups in a certain amount of time, etc. – gets a hell of a lot tougher.
Q. Darryl, you guys played so well last game and you don't get the win. Is the mentality going into this game to show up and play the same way or find another level?
COACH SUTTER: Find different ways every game. I don't think last game will have any bearing on this game, as Game 1 would be on Game 2 or 2 on 3.
Q. You said earlier in the series that Anze Kopitar never has a bad game. Has he always been like that for you or has that come as he's gotten older?
COACH SUTTER: I think he's been a really consistent player. (pause) Yeah, I would say that (laughter). Instead of going into it, I'd say that.
Q. You've dominated in the third period in this series and throughout the playoffs. How important is a strong start in the first?
COACH SUTTER: Well, I think domination in third periods is not the right way to look at it. I mean, there's different reasons that you have good third periods. Maybe you're down. Maybe you're up. Maybe you got penalties or power plays. Lots of different reasons for third periods, the way they are.
Quite honestly, you're probably saying that because of shots for and against, right? It's pretty much irrelevant. If you only had one shot and you needed that to score the goal and you did, then you'd take that, so...
It's not just the start. I mean, what does 'start' mean? Does that mean shift, period, till the first time out, O zone, neutral zone, D zone, faceoff? What does it mean?
If you would rather watch than read, you can do so below...
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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