It’s took 9 months, 1230 regular season and 81 playoff games to crown a new Stanley Cup king, or Kings. Hockey is back on the map in southern California.
Entering the playoffs as the 8 seed, and following a mad scramble to make the playoffs, the Kings had a run like no one else in recent memory. The LA club knocked off the top 3 seeds in the west, Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix. Then they erased the Eastern conference champ New Jersey Devils in 6 games.
While the Kings are one of the Sharks biggest rivals, it’s hard not to give them the respect they are due. They are a club that could contend for years to come. Jonathan Quick was brilliant in goal on the way to the Cup MVP. Captain Dustin Brown came up big when his team needed it most. Anzi Kopitar proved to the hockey world that he is an elite player. From the stars to the role players, each man made important contributions.
Congrats go out to coach Darryl Sutter and GM Dean Lombardi. Good men who did a great job guiding the Kings to their first Cup win since entering the league in 1967.
Devils’ forward, and former Shark Steve Bernier will be seen as the goat of the Cup finals. His 5 -minute major in the first period saw LA capitalize with 3 quick-strike power play goals. It was certainly a tough break for Bernier.
Drew Doughty is now officially a ‘phenom’. The young Los Angeles defenseman, just 22, now has a Stanley Cup to go along with his Olympic Gold medal. I see many Norris trophies in his bright future.
Is forward Jeff Carter pinching himself right now. Exiled in Columbus after a summer trade from Philly, it was a late season deal that sent him to LA. Reunited with his Philadelphia friend Mike Richards, Carter netted 2 big goals in the Cup clinching game.
While no one in Sharkville is pleased with getting knocked off in the first round by St. Louis, there were a few bright spots. San Jose went 7-2 down the stretch to capture the 7 seed. They defeated the Kings in the final two games of the season.
No sophomore-slump for Logan Couture. The young centerman tallied 31 goals and 65 points during his second season in the NHL. But Couture does more than just score, he’s a solid 3-zone player who plays with fire and passion every game.
Is it just me or did Sharks’ defenseman Justin Braun look better every game he played? He’s got size and a nice right-handed shot from the blueline. I especially like the way he plays with poise and is one of a dying breed who is not afraid to skate the puck out of his own zone.
Winnipeg is back and in a big way. The former Atlanta club thrilled 1st season (new) Jets fans with an exciting season. They were in the playoff picture all the way until the final week of the season. Fans filled the building and there a feel of strong civic pride in that Manitoba city.
Something seems funny when the Montreal Canadiens finish in last and the Kings win the Cup. Another story out of Montreal, Red Fisher is retiring after 57 years following the Habs. In many ways he was the English written voice of the Canadiens. You can find out more at the Montreal Gazette website.
One last note. It was great to see longtime TV voice of the Kings hold the cup high. The legendary voice of the Kings finally gets to enjoy his team’s success after 39 behind the mic. For sjsharks.com, I’m Frank Albin