May 24, 2012, 8:00 AM EST
The Los Angeles Kings are just four wins away from their first-ever Stanley Cup victory, but perhaps it makes sense that they’ll need to face a player who was believed to be the “missing piece” to their puzzle to accomplish that task.
The Kings finished second (or worst) in the big free agent sweepstakes the last two summers. Depending upon whom you ask, Los Angeles went equally hard after New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010 and New York Rangers center Brad Richards in 2011 but came up “empty” each time.
In the process, the Kings developed a deeper, less top-heavy team that perhaps wasn’t built for regular season domination (yet?), but rather postseason glory. Some might even argue that – despite Richards’ and Kovalchuk’s talents – the Kings were “protected from themselves” by missing out on the best of their respective free agent crops.
Either way, there’s some poetic justice to the fact that whether the Rangers or Devils advance, the Kings will face a player who supposedly would have been the “missing piece” to their championship puzzle.
Which mercenary talent should they fear more going forward, then?
- Firing Dallas Eakins ‘would be so unfair,’ says Taylor Hall 27
- ‘It sucks for us, it sucks for the fans’: Oilers losing skid hits six games 14
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ 83
- ‘We did not want to disrespect our fans’: Leafs salute supporters after beating Red Wings 4
- Video: Demers sends Stoll flying with massive open-ice hit 8
- Don Cherry on Leafs not saluting fans: ‘I couldn’t believe these guys would do something like this’ 15
- Report: Dan Hamhuis’ injury is significant, but not season-ending 5
- Been there, done that: Oilers lose five straight for second time this season 10
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ 86
- Video: Prout drops Lucic with one punch 43
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (86)
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ (83)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (78)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Wild put Harding on waivers (Updated) (52)