Monday, June 11, 2012

LA Kings Of The NHL!

1) Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings on capturing their first ever Stanley Cup, defeating the NJ Devils tonight; becoming the first-ever 8th seed to do so. Not only were they the first 8th seed to win, but they did so in a fashion none would expect even from a 1st seed/Presidents Trophy winner. Dominating the playoffs from start to finish. They set a single playoff series record with 11 road wins.  They literally mowed through the 1st , 2nd 3rd Western Conference seeds and then beat the Eastern Conference champs.  Yes, we got another playoff series prediction dead on in the winner and number of games required

2) So the obvious question(s) are: Were the Kings huge underachievers all season?  Did things just come together at the right time?  Was this the best playoff run of all time?
  • The Kings were expected to compete or all out win their division. This what we wrote in our preseason Kings prediction on October 6th, 2011: The Kings long re-build is finally paying off? If so its time they make a run for the division and show it where it counts most, in spring. Difference Maker: Dustin Penner. Our Penner mention seems prophetic as the big winger has had a break out spring.
  • It can be argued that they did underachieve especially early on, but don't underestimate the coaching change and the addition of Jeff Carter. We believe the expulsion of Murray in favour of Sutter was instrumental in changing the mentality from losing to winning
  • Well it can be argued that this is one of the better playoff runs ever. Since the NHL expanded the playoffs to four 7 game rounds only the 1988 Edmonton Oilers have lost as few as two games, but they were expected to be there and they did NOT win 11 of those games away from The Northlands Coliseum (as Rexal Place was called back then). 
3) So the inevitable questions we always here when we crown a new champ: Is this the beginning of a dynasty?  Winning the Cup is not always the first step in a series of championships. On the contrary, there hasn't been a back-to-back Cup champ since the 97-98 RedWings or 17 years. That said,  when you take a close look at the makeup of the Kings, it is not entirely unrealistic to expect this franchise to win a few Cups over the next five or six seasons.This is a relatively young hockey team. Their best forward, Kopitar is 24. Best defensemen Doughty is 22, and Quick is the 'gray beard' in goal at 26. Richads, Carter and Brown are all in the mid/late 20's so all have plenty of hockey left. Can they stay motivated/focused playing in Tinsel town?  That will be Sutter's challenge starting in September!

4) So begins the LONG(er than usual?) NHL off season.  The entry draft in Pittsburgh will be on June 22nd and expect plenty of intrigue and rumours before the big day(s).  We fully expect some big deals and trading of picks and other assets to accompany the days leading up to and on draft day as well. Look for all that and other rumours as we get closer, as well as plenty of CBA discussion to take place over the next couple of months.  AS always, keep it here for all the latest!

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