Wednesday, June 27, 2012

L.A Kings: A run for the ages

The L.A kings are a franchise that had long awaited to be crowned. 45 years it took for the kings to be crowned champions of the hockey universe. They didn’t have an easy road to become Stanley cup champs. The franchise came up short in 1993 vs. Patrick Roy and the Montreal Canadiens in 5 games,it would be a long road back to the Stanley cup finals for hockey fans in L.A . The kings made 3 straight playoff appearences following their move to the luxurious  staples center that saw 3 early playoff exits. The kings were about to go into rebuilding mode. With 13th pick in the 2003 NHL entry draft the kings would select Physical right winger and future captain of the kings Dustin Brown. After the lockout and play resumed in 2005 and the kings would get 2 more pieces to their championship puzzle drafting future All-star Anze Kopitar 11th overall in the 1st round. The team would get arguably its most important piece of the future Stanley cup team when they selected premier goaltender Jonathan Quick 72nd overall in the 3rd round. The 2007 NHL draft saw the kings take future key contributors Alec Martinez and Dwight King. In March of the 2009 season the kings traded for 2006 cup champion Justin Williams in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes. In the 2008 entry draft the kings would go on to select a franchise cornerstone on the blue line when they drafted Drew Doughty 2nd overall. The kings were getting pieces throught the draft and slowly building a winner. The 2009-2010 saw  the Kings return to the NHL playoffs finishing 6th in the west with 101 points. They would take on the 3rd seed in the western confrence in the highly skilled and Stanley cup contender team the Vancouver Canucks. The series was hard fought and the Kings actually had a 2-1 series lead at one point but the world class goaltending of Roberto Luongo and dynamic Scoring duo of the Sedin twins helped Vancouver jut get by the kings in 6 games. The kings knew they had something despite the loss Kopitar finished top 20 in the NHL in scoring and Drew Doughty was a Norris trophy canadaite. All they needed were a few more pieces and L.A would be a contender.                                                                                                                   The following season the king would aquire Grity Dustin Penner a Stanley cup champion with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. L.A would make the playoffs the next season as the 7th seed vs. San Jose Sharks with Anze Kopitar injured for the entire playoffs the kings would put up a fight and ultimately fall in 6 games to the Sharks in the 1st round. The front office had to back to the drawing board in the offseason. They would aquire Philadelphia Flyers star Mike Richards and sign Simon gagne . The Kings would get off to a good start with a 5-5-1 record to begin the NHL season. After the decent start the team hit a scoring drought which lead the team too a 13-12-4 record which to coach Terry Murray being fired. Not too long after that the kings hired Darryl Sutter a man who comes from a hockey family and winning pedigree. The kings were much improved under Sutter finishing at a record of 25-13-11. During that time the Kings would aquire Jeff Carter from the blue jackets and just squeezed into the Playoffs as the 8th seed. L.A would meet the canucks once again and once again they were favored heavily over the kings being the best team in the west with 111 points. Many analyst thought the canucks should dominate due to the kings lack of scoring. The kings dominated the Canucks and made quick work of them in 5 games leaving the hockey world confused. People thought the 1st round triumph was a fluke and the kings would face the 2nd seeded ST. Louis Blues who had a huge resurgence under Ken Hitchcock. The kings made even quicker of the Blues sweeping them in 4 games and put the Hockey world on notice that they were not pretenders. The western confrence finals had the Kings matched up against pacifi division Rival Phoenix Coyotes. The series had 2 vezina trophy canadiates matched up against each other in Mike smith and Jonathan Quick. Quick proved to be better as the Kings also make quick work of the Coyotes. So L.A knocked of the 1,2 and 3 seeds in 5 games or less as an 8th seed themselves. Their next and final task was too knock off one of the most iconic  goaltenders in league history in Martin Brouder and the NJ Devils. After two 2-1 wins in OT in Newark the kings came back home blew out Nj 3-0 the Kings were 1 win away from being crowned all they needed was 1 win in Newark. They didn’t get any wins in Newark and wound coming home for game 6 with the series 3-2. It would be the most lopsided win the Kings got the whole playoffs 6-1 and for the 1st time in 45 years the LA Kings were crowned the Kins of hockey winning the 1st Stanley cup in frranchis history. This was more then a championship triumph,this was one of the the most dominant,impressive historical runs in NHL history. The Kings became the 1st eigth seeded team in NHL history and in Sports history to win a championship. Going 10-1 on the road and defeating every powerhouse in the league. This playoff run definetly ranks among the greatest in NHL and sports history.

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