LOS ANGELES -- Dean Lombardi stood on the blue line, away from the commotion and soon-to-be coronation.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was waiting for the Stanley Cup to reach the cloth-covered table, but the general manager of the Los Angeles Kings -- the architect of this championship roster -- didn't want to be part of the spotlight. He had no interest in taking any credit, even though it was his vision that made the celebration possible Monday night.
So, instead of soaking in the adulation he so richly deserves, Lombardi stood at the blue line, but one-by-one the players skated up to him and wrapped their arms around him to bring their boss in for a celebratory hug.
LOS ANGELES -- Those that were around Drew Doughty earlier this season could sense a change in his demeanor when the Stanley Cup Playoffs began.
CELEBRATE THE KINGS' STANLEY CUP
Doughty's eyes seemed to light up when the games took on heavy meaning, and he spoke with more focus about loving this time of year -- the intense matchups with teams in a seven-game series. Doughty isn't necessarily bored with the regular season; it's just that he loves a stage.
At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Doughty was the poster boy for Team Canada when he took the Canadian flag and skated around the ice after the gold medal game. He was all of 20.
It was a coming-out party for Doughty as a premier young defenseman in the NHL. But he knew his career wouldn't be complete without a Stanley Cup, and he crossed that off his list Monday at age 22.
The 27-year-old had just been ejected from Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final for boarding Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi, leaving the Devils to kill a five-minute major penalty and down a key member of the fourth line. It took three giant roars from the Staples Center crowd for Bernier to learn his mistake helped lead to the demise of his team's season.
The Kings scored three times during the major penalty to jump to a 3-0 lead and never looked back in a 6-1 win that eliminated the Devils and gave Los Angeles its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
"It's extremely hard," Bernier said. "It's been a long playoff run for us and we had a lot of good things going for us. To finish on that note, it's not fun for sure. But at the same time, there's nothing I can do now."
LOS ANGELES --Justin Williams called it a season-changing momentum swing. It's hard to dispute his point.
When the Los Angeles Kings were awarded a five-minute power play in the first period of Game 6 Monday night -- one that would both erase any doubts they might have had after back-to-back losses and to stop the Devils hopeful march toward history dead in its tracks -- all they were thinking about was making it matter.
"You're thinking you better score," Williams said, "because if you don't score you know the tide is going to turn."
The Los Angeles Kings and their fans will celebrate the first Stanley Cup in the franchise's 45-year history on Thursday with a parade and a celebratory rally at Staples Center.
The festivities will be shown live on the NHL Network beginning at 2 PM ET. In the Los Angeles area, the parade can be seen on Fox Sports West.
The parade will begin at noon PT at the corner of Figueroa and West 5th Streets, with Los Angeles' traditional parade of championship teams down Figueroa to Staples Center. Players and their families, coaches, staff, broadcasters, alumni, the Ice Crew, mascot Bailey and other VIPs will ride on double-decker buses and other specially decorated vehicles along with the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Clarence Campbell Cup.
The parade is expected to last 30-45 minutes.
The Kings will produce a special "Championship Rally" inside Staples Center, scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. The 60-minute ticketed event will include specially-produced video highlights from the season, introductions of the entire team, coaching staff and executives with speeches and reactions from many of the players in addition to special presentations and surprises.
Tickets are free, but priority will be given to season ticket members and suite and premier seat owners. Access to any remaining tickets for the general public will begin at 6 p.m. PT on Tuesday and will be available via www.lakings.com/parade on a first-come, first-served basis with a maximum of four tickets per order.
Current and former players from around the National Hockey League hit Twitter on Monday night to congratulate the Los Angeles Kings on their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. The Kings won the best-of-seven series in six games by beating the New Jersey Devils 6-1 at Staples Center.
Willie Mitchell played his first NHL game more than a decade ago, but it wasn't until Monday night that he was able to hoist hockey's Holy Grail above his head.
The 35-year-old was handed the Stanley Cup by Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown after the franchise won its first championship with a 6-1 win against the New Jersey Devils at Staples Center. Just seconds earlier, Brown had claimed the spoils of victory from Commissioner Gary Bettman, much to the delight of a packed Staples Center.
It was indeed a special night for Mitchell, who has battled various injuries throughout his career. But he was able to appear in 76 regular-season games for Los Angeles before helping the club during its historic march through the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
An emotional Mitchell thought back to his youth growing up in Port McNeill, B.C.
Robitaille joined the Los Angeles Kings' organization three decades ago as a late-round draft pick in 1984, bringing both an infectious smile and a giant chip on his shoulder to the West Coast to tackle what could be described, at best, as an uncertain future.
"No team wanted me; keep that in mind," Robitaille said days before the Kings won their first Stanley Cup by beating the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6. "Even the Kings, I kind of question it because they drafted [former major-league pitcher] Tom Glavine before me even though he said he'd never play hockey. But that was the team that wanted me."
When Robitaille raised the Stanley Cup over his head Monday night, celebrating the franchise's first Stanley Cup, the smile was bigger and brighter than ever -- but the chip on his shoulder was long gone, eroded away by a steady stream of successes culminated by Robitaille's stewardship of this Kings team to the pinnacle of the sport.
LOS ANGELES -- There will probably be more attention paid to who signs where on July 1 when hockey’s silly season begins anew, but the Los Angeles Kings are the latest example of why what happens the week before will likely have more impact on shaping future Stanley Cup champions.
The Kings captured the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history Monday night, beating the New Jersey Devils in six games and reminding everyone in the sport about the importance of the NHL Draft. Of the 20 players who dressed for the Kings in Games 3-6, 10 of them are "homegrown" players -- guys who were drafted and developed by the organization.
Every Stanley Cup winner since the work stoppage in 2004-05 ushered in the "new NHL" has featured a core of homegrown talent. Some, like the Detroit Red Wings in 2008, Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, have relied on the draft to find elite talent more than others (the 2011 Boston Bruins and 2006 Carolina Hurricanes), but those teams still had several integral players that were acquired through the draft.