Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Despite A Season Of Ups And Downs The Los Angeles Kings Are Stanley Cup Champs

It seemed unlikely at times, even impossible at others, but the Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup. The Kings put together one of the most dominant playoff runs in recent history, going 10-1 on the road and 16-4 overall en route to  being crowned the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions.

However, the Kings regular season was not so convincing, and had many doubting the Kings ability to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.

The Kings started the season in Europe, with newly acquired talent Mike Richards, and had many believing the Kings finally had the right pieces to be called a true contender for the Cup. The Kings came back from Europe and were ready to tackle the regular season.

But the Kings came back a team starving for offense, and had most questioning the decisions and coaching style that the Kings had fallen into. The Kings hit the mid way point, with only one true star, Jonathan Quick.

Anchoring the team, and stealing games that the Kings had no business wining, Quick kept the Kings in the hunt while they struggled to claim an identity.

The Kings later fired Terry Murray, and brought in Darryl Sutter which seemed to breathe a sigh of relief into the organization.

Then February came around, and things started to change for the Kings. The Kings had two rookies by the names of, Jordan Nolan and Dwight King, come in from Manchester and contribute and play pivotal roles for the Kings. Once in the line-up the duo never left.

Then the last piece of the puzzle seemed to fall in place at the Trade Deadline. Kings’ General Manager shipped out defenseman, Jack Johnson, to the Columbus Blue Jackets for star forward, Jeff Carter. Low and behold the Kings started to score.

A late season surge put the Kings in the hunt for the Pacific Division title and had Kings fans believing again. Unfortunately, the Kings came up short, and lost the regular season’s last two games. Kings fans belief’s were short lived.

Going into the playoffs as the eighth seed, and paired up against the West’s number one seed the Kings seemed to have quite the mountain to climb. But before Kings fans could blink, the Kings dispatched the President’s Trophy winners in five games and in dominating fashion.

Still riding the high of their first round victory, Kings fans believed anything could happen, and the Kings gave them just that. Facing the West’s number two seed, the Kings eliminated the St. Louis Blues in four games, a sweep, at Staples Center.

The Kings, and their fan base were on a high that hadn’t been felt in decades. Sure enough the hockey gods gave the Kings a chance at retribution, getting paired against the Phoenix Coyotes, the very teams that stole the Pacific Division title from Los Angeles just over a month prior.

Sure enough, the Kings won three games on the road, and grabbed the title of Western Conference Champions in five games. But there was something more the Kings wanted, needed. The Stanley Cup.

Facing the New Jersey Devils, the East’s number sixth seed, the Kings opened the series with a familiar story. Winning two close games on the road, and game three at Staples Center, opening a third consecutive round with a 3-0 lead. But then the Kings first real hiccup of the post season occurred.

The Kings dropped game four at home, and to the surprise of many, lost their first game on the road, bringing the series to a 3-2 set up. Kings fans were shaken, could the Kings, a team loved for so long, possibly find a new way to break the hearts of so many that have stood faithful for so long.

The Kings returned home, confident and collected. The puck dropped for game six and the Kings never looked back, ending the night Stanley Cup Champions.

Everything fell in place for the Kings at the right time, Quick was a constant force, captain, Dustin Brown, played the best hockey of his career in the post season, Anze Kopitar developed into one of the league’s finest, Carter’s addition paid off, Dustin Penner possibly saved his contract, and the Kings got contributions from every player on the roster.

Kings fans have waited a long time for this, and will savor this for even longer.

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