Name it-they’ve got it, and they’re going to get it again.
No one could have predicted this. A team in a free-fall, gets hot at the end of the year. A team on the brink of extinction, comes back from a 3-0 deficit to stay alive. A team, with its backs to the wall, wins 3-straight Game-7’s on the road.
The LA Kings are 3-periods-60 minutes away, from winning the NHL Stanley Cup again, if they take out the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden tonite.
The Kings, with a “Cowboy” leader of a coach, Darryl Sutter, bounced out of Calgary, who brought passion-respect-and hard work to the room, about to win another Stanley Cup.
Dean Lombardi, a GM few know, but who only knows how to identify talent, looks as if he has done it again, taken players from other places, and made them winners.
The Kings, a collection of young draftees, led by red-hot goalie Jonathan Quick and defenseman Drew Doughty. A team with a Euro goal scorer Anzi Kopitar, and a bunch of hard working kids, like Tyler Taffoli, about to do it again.
LA, with players other teams wanted to move, has molded a crew of grizzled acquisitions, not afraid of adversity, not afraid to play in big games.
Jeff Carter-Mike Richards-Justin Williams, all dispatched by the Flyers. Big shot forward Marian Gaborik-dumped by the Rangers, now dumping on his old team. Jarrett Stoll-the pre-eminent faceoff man.
These guys dressed in black, swarm and fore-check, and bang bodies. They stand in front of the net, they clear people from in front of their own net. They come at you wave-after-wave.
Who do you check, who do you shadow, who do you run. Ask San Jose-the Ducks-the Blackhawks and now the Rangers. Control one or two of them, the others will kill you.
Kings hockey history had been about the Triple Crown line and Rogie Vachon and the Miracle on Manchester. It’s Gretzky-Kurri-McSorley and that special Barry Melrose team. It’s the last cup winner two years ago when they were oh so young in beating the Devils, and now this crew, now older and even better.
They win tonite- they get the toughest trophy in sports to get, the Stanley Cup. The NHL playoffs, all out, every shift, every night. That’s who the Kings are and why they’re going to win again.