In this latest installment of “View from the Press Box” we get playoff perspective from Kings Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Miller, who draws similarities between the 2012 Kings and the 1993 Kings that advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
It’s great to see that all Kings fans are having so much fun and excitement this playoff year. It’s nice to see because all of you have been so loyal and supportive all these years.
What strikes me about this playoff season is how similar it is to 19 years ago when the Kings last made it to the Conference finals and then to the Stanley Cup finals.
In 1993, just as this year, the Kings had a mediocre season, finished third in the Division and then got hot at the right time. Also that season, just as this year, the Kings opened all playoff series on the road: at Calgary in the Smythe Division Quarter-Finals, at Vancouver in the Division Semi-Finals and at Toronto in the Campbell Conference Finals. This season, so far, in opening all series on the road, the Kings are 5-0 as of this writing and are 7-0 on the road going back to two wins in San Jose last year.
In 1993 Kelly Hrudey was the hot goaltender for the Kings, with his blue headband flowing out from under his helmet. In addition to Hrudey, the Kings in that year, much like this season, got great contributions from everyone on the team. Players like Mike Donnelly, Warren Rychel, Alexei Zhitnik, Pat Conacher, Charlie Huddy, and rookie Darryl Sydor all chipped in to help out the more well known players. It's the same this year, with outstanding contributions from rookies Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Slava Voynov.
Special teams were also a factor in the playoff run of ‘93, just as they have been this year in penalty killing and short-handed goals. This season, Dustin Brown had two shorthanded goals in one game at Vancouver and in '93 the Kings Jari Kurri and Dave Taylor both scored short-handed in a game on May 21 against Toronto.
The entire City of Los Angeles jumped on the Kings bandwagon in 1993 much as they are doing this year. Kings fans are showing their excitement perhaps more than the players and that is a good sign. Coach Darryl Sutter has continually stated to the media and to his players that they haven't won anything yet. Every Kings player comments as to how their main focus is on the next game, Game 1 of the next series, and that is the attitude they have to maintain.
To me, the series against Phoenix pits two teams peaking at the right time with great goaltending, outstanding defense and every player increasing his level of play. The teams were even during the regular season with each team winning three games, although the Kings lost two of those in the extra session, one in OT and the other in a shootout. Three shutouts took place between the teams in the regular season with the Kings winning 1-0 and 2-0 behind Jonathon Quick and Phoenix winning 1-0 behind Mike Smith.
I look for a tight defensive battle, with low scoring games. I think which ever team advances to the Stanley Cup Final round will benefit from the relatively easy travel because the Eastern Conference teams have had hardly any travel in the semi-final round.
Whatever happens, this has been tremendously exciting for Kings fans so far and we all hope it continues with a better final outcome than we had in 1993.