The winner of the 2011-2012 Stanley Cup is, the Los Angeles Kings. If you were to have read that first sentence in the beginning of the season your day probably would have been made because it’s such a ridiculous statement. But that was back in October and now nearly eight months after the start of the regular season, the Kings have proved everyone wrong. Every hockey expert, every hockey analyst, all proved wrong by the Los Angeles Kings.
It’s hard to believe that a team that has been a victim of a ton of mediocrity over the past decade could overcome so much turmoil on the ice and off the ice and become champions, but the Kings have been able to do that.
In front of an 18,000 plus crowd filled with celebrities from Matthew Perry to Al Michaels, the Kings were able to complete a dominate postseason as star players like Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown helped lead the charge to victory. The Kings have absolutely been the best team in the NHL this past month as they suddenly went on a tear, defeating the number one seed in the West, the Vancouver Canucks in just five short games. After defeating the Canucks, the eight seeded Kings then turned their attention over to the St. Louis Blues. The Blues seemed to be no match for royalty, as Los Angeles went onto completes the sweep of the number two seed in the West. So let’s do a little recapping here, the number eight seed, which wasn’t even supposed to be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs started the postseason off 8-1 after dominating the number one and number two seeded teams. Certainly an incredible feat as they continued their march onto the cup. Just because they had a hot start, certainly didn’t mean anything was going to be guaranteed. With the team needing eight more wins in order to be called champions, the Kings continued to make sure nothing was going to get in the way of their goal. It was onto the Western Conference Finals for L.A. as they had to take on a team that also surprised many, the Phoenix Coyotes. However, the Coyotes proved to be no match for the Kings as they went onto again dominate the series taking the first three games before closing out the series in five games. Oh, did I mention that the Kings did not have home ice advantage in any single series? So in the first 14 games they played in the playoffs, they went an incredible 12-2.
It was now time, time for the Kings to make their mark and make history at the same time, prove to everyone that just because they are the underdogs, shouldn’t mean they deserve to be completed counted out. The Kings were set to face the New Jersey Devils in what was sure to be an exciting final hockey series of the season. The Kings, to no one’s surprise took an early lead in the series as they went into New Jersey and took both game one and game two. With the cup being only two wins away, the Kings were ready to attack. After taking game three the Kings were just one win away, however the Devils proved to still have some fight in them as they came back to win the next two. With this being the longest series the Kings have been forced to play during this postseason, people were questioning why is it taking so long for them to close out the series?! People began wondering whether or not the Devils could somehow force a game seven. A scenario that at one point seemed impossible was now very possible. With a two game losing streak, the Kings knew that last night’s game was about as important as ever. When the puck dropped, we all saw a team that was determined. The Kings came out and just flat out dominated the game. Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead going into the second period and from that point on, it was a one sided game. When the final buzzer sounded the Staples Center erupted with cheers, not for the Los Angeles Lakers, but for the Los Angeles Kings.
Now that the season is over and the Kings were finally given their crown, the argument comes up. Was that the most spectacular run that we have every witnessed in the history of sports? A team that wasn’t supposed to be in the playoffs went onto knock off the top three seeds in the West and also lost a remarkable one game in the entire postseason, is now champions. Also, with this great of a run, are the Kings the best eight seed ever? Two very good questions and for me, I would say yes to both of them. For the past 10 years, this franchise has lived in the shadows of the Lakers and the Dodgers. A team that missed the playoffs time and time again went into the postseason as the last possible seed and went onto to lose only four games in four different series’. As I sat there and watched the players all screaming in joy as each player had their own moment with the cup, from the presentation of the cup, to Simon Gagne almost falling when he lifted it, I realized that this team is definitely one of the most incredible stories in not only the history of the game, but also in the history of sports.
We all witnessed something special this postseason, something that as fans most of us might not be able to witness again. Before I close out this article, I want to congratulate every member of the Los Angeles Kings, from owners Philip Anschutz and Edward Roski, to GM Dean Lombardi all the way down to the great players who are under contract with the Kings. This team definitely made history this season and I along with a lot of other people have definitely been pleased and thankful for what the Kings have done.
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Tags: Dean Lombardi Dustin Brown Edward Roski Jonathan Quick. Los Angeles Kings New Jersey Devils Nhl Playoffs Philip Anschutz Phoenix Coyotes Simon Gagne St Louis Blues Stanley Cup Finals Vancouver Canucks