by PuckStopsHere on 06/14/14 at 12:59 AM ET
The Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup. Since it is their second cup in three years some people have already begun suggesting this Kings team is a dynasty. It shows how much we have accepted the fact that there are no elite teams. A team wins two cups - not in back to back years - both times without having a good enough regular season for home ice advantage in the first round and they are a dynasty. Los Angeles fans are happy. Most of the rest of the NHL's fans probably haven't noticed yet.
Justin Williams wins the Conn Smythe Trophy. I would have picked Anze Kopitar. It will be interesting what this does for Williams's profile. He is usually seen as a more supporting player on the Kings and not one of their biggest stars. He has had very good puck possession numbers over the last few years. He is sometimes seen as an example that Corsi doesn`t work. How can a player like Williams have such a high Corsi? Now that he is playoff MVP, there will have to be some other whipping boy for that failing argument.
There are three meaningful things I think we have observed this year that will be seen in hindsight.
1) There is elite hockey. The Olympics are elite hockey. Even with teams that have only practised together for a couple weeks at most we saw some great games in the Olympics. Naturally the NHL suggests that they would like to kill the best hockey we ever see. The NHL system actively prevents elite teams from existing. The only time we see games between elite teams is the Olympics. The NHL is opposed.
2) Sidney Crosby is the best player in the NHL. Say what you will about his playoff showing. Even with a second round exit, he led the playoffs in Corsi. He could be a unanimous winner of the Hart Trophy this year. I don't know anyone else who made a serious argument for anyone else to be the regular season MVP. Crosby will dominate again next year and any question about whether or not he is the best player in the NHL will soon be dashed.
3) The West Conference is much better than the East. The main hope for East Conference teams to win the Stanley Cup is that the West beats itself up. Seven or eight of the best ten teams in the NHL today are West Conference teams and there are fewer West Conference teams to choose from.
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