The Los Angeles Kings had the honor to hoist the Stanley Cup at the end of a crazy season. After having the coach fired and bringing in a new coach, Darryl Sutter, the team had a lot of adjusting to go through.
Sutter, who had been a hockey player himself, wanted to change the way the Kings knew how to play. This change was going to be tough adjusting to, but it would need to happen if they wanted to be a Cup-contending team. They made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, making the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
Every hockey fan knows how they broke the record of being the lowest seeded team to win the cup and their crazy winning on the road. Does anyone really know who had helped this team get to the finals and win the Stanley Cup? Many players had come together, much like a puzzle, to help the team in different ways. Dustin Penner helped carry on in the playoffs after scoring an OT winner in Game 5 against the Phoenix Coyotes, advancing them to the finals. Dwight King, 2007 NHL Entry Draft choice for L.A. scoring eight points in his first NHL Playoff run. Even though these aren’t the biggest reasons, they were big enough to make it possible to win the Stanley Cup.
1) Darryl Sutter: Sutter is a former hockey player and a great coach. He is one of seven Sutter siblings, which six of them made it into the NHL. His playing career was spent on the Blackhawks, making the playoffs every year. So when he became the new coach of the Los Angeles Kings, he knew how he wanted to run them. He didn’t just run them, he guided them. They had one of the best comeback season that anyone has seen. It seemed like they came from the bottom and rose to the top.
2) Anze Kopitar: Kopitar had combined with another player in goals and assists in the playoffs. He had eight goals, 12 assists, and nine penalty minutes in 20 games. With his speed and agility, it’s a wonder how he didn’t have more goals and assists. He wasn’t alone. The other player who matched his stats were captain Dustin Brown.
3) Dustin Brown: As the captain of this team, it was up to Dustin Brown to help lead his players the way Darryl Sutter wanted him to. On his way to leading them, he learned a bit himself. This helped the players play better tighter and helped him get 20 points (eight goals and 12 assists) and pick up 34 penalty minutes in 20 games. Without Brown or Kopitar, the team might not have had the correct leadership it takes to make it through the Stanley Cup Playoffs the way they did. Coming in as the eighth seed, beating the President’s Trophy winner (Vancouver Canucks) and then dominating every team after, they were definitely a force to be reckoned with.
4) Jonathan Quick: You all should have known his name was going to be on this list. Without Quick, where would the Kings be? Probably in 10th place in their conference. In the playoffs, Quick’s record was 16-4. He had only 28 goals against to produce a 1.41 GAA rating and a .946 save %. Not only that, but he had three shutouts in 16 wins. Without Quick, the team would have had a lot of problems in the net. One billboard that had it’s picture all over the internet became true. It was a picture of a Jonathan Quick jersey. The caption read, “When my wife wears this to bed, I know I’m not going to score.” The truth is, he is a brick wall and it’s hard to get the puck past him. His name tells it all, he’s quick between the pipes.
The Los Angeles Kings can win the Stanley Cup again with this shortened season. Anyone could pick up the Cup, it’s just a matter of who will play harder for it. The Kings will come out as strong as they did in the playoffs last season. As long as Brown, Kopitar, and Quick all stay healthy, the Kings can be sure that they will be a team in the playoffs again, and they won’t be ranked eighth. They could reach the 3rd or fourth seed. They have a good chance, and I wish them the best of luck this season.