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The Kings, the Cup and Lord Stanley’s hangover

Aug 1, 2012, 2:08 PM EDT

Jeff Carter, Mike Richards Getty Images

If winning the Stanley Cup is one of the toughest accomplishments in sports, how tough is it to win two in a row?

That’s a question the LA Kings will answer in 2012-13.

Historically speaking, capturing consecutive titles has been difficult. There have been just two repeat champions since 1990 — the Pittsburgh Penguins 1991-92 and the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.

For you mathletes out there, that’s 15 years without a back-to-back champ — which isn’t overly surprising. A full playoff run combined with the regular season is (usually) over 100 games in length, a grind that takes a massive physical toll.

And since the lockout, that toll seems to have increased.

The 2006 Cup champion Hurricanes didn’t make the playoffs in 2007. The 2007 Cup champion Ducks lost in the opening round of the 2008 playoffs.

Detroit and Pittsburgh briefly reversed the trend by each making consecutive Stanley Cup finals in 2008-09, but the trend returned with the 2010 Cup champion Blackhawks (bounced in Round 1 of the 2011 playoffs) and the 2011 Cup champion Bruins (out in the opening round in 2012.)

That said, the Kings are uniquely positioned to buck that trend.

The biggest reason — as mentioned in the offseason report — is that L.A. returns almost its entire Cup-winning roster, a rarity in today’s NHL. Whereas the Bruins and Blackhawks lost key contributors following their victories, the Kings’ biggest loss might be Scott Parse, who appeared in nine regular season and zero playoff games.

Also consider the theory that Los Angeles’ run wasn’t super taxing. Taxing sure, but in the context of previous runs, not so much.

The Kings were average performers for half regular season — Anze Kopitar said they were “way more aggressive” after Darryl Sutter took over — and their playoff run consisted of 20 games with no series going longer than six (whereas three of Boston’s series went to Game 7.)

And hey, it wasn’t like the Kings were shouldering years of lengthy playoff runs. Last season was the first time L.A. advanced past the opening round since 2001.

The flip side of this, though, is that L.A. now has an unprecedented profile. The bullseye on its collective backs will be magnified by 1) the highest expectations in the club’s 45-year history, and 2) the immense spotlight that’s sure to be on Jonathan Quick after winning the Conn Smythe and signing a $58 million contract.

So…are the Kings well positioned to repeat, or will the task be too tall?

Let us know in the comments section.

  1. lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    “Also consider the theory that Los Angeles’ run wasn’t super taxing.” This is why no team has ever played all 28 potential games and won the Cup.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      I would say this reason for believing they can repeat is even more important than the first one provided.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 1, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        Right. The shorter they can make their playoffs, the better it bodes for the next season.

      • cardsandbluesforever - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:45 PM

        that is exactly the reason they WONT repeat in 12/13 . they pretty much ran through every team they faced in the playoffs unchallenged. it was almost too easy for the kings. there will be a mild sense of entitlement in the kings locker room. im sure they expect to be able to do the same thing again next season.

        problem is every other team in the league saw what they did and are making adjustments accordingly. 4 other good teams will be out for revenge, you better believe they all made adjustments in game style durring the off season.

        LA flew way under the radar last year, but not only are they now on the radar they have gigantic targets painted on thier backs.

  2. ron05342 - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    The talent level on this team was too great to be having the mediocre season it was having.

    First, they got a coach who was an azz-kicker for a team that needed a collective kick in the butt. That generated a flurry of wins before they fell into the same 1-0 win-or-loss trend that was the signature of their season all the way into late February.

    The Jeff Carter trade was like the magic elixir that cured all wounds. While Carter himself didn’t perform all that great (during the season; in the playoffs he was clutch), his coming into the second line forced players like Stoll, Penner, Lewis, and Fraser to their natural line positions and all of those players became extremely effective (thanks in no part to Stoll having a great attitude about the shift). In addition, Penner performed so well he was promoted back to the second line with Richards and Carter.

    With Doughty emerging in the playoffs, and the defense as solid as ever, this team has an excellent shot at repeating. Stay away from the injury bug, and the Kings are going to be a force to reckon with in the West all season long.

  3. supr49er - Aug 1, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Quick makes the Kings a perennial contender.

    • ron05342 - Aug 2, 2012 at 12:48 AM

      @cardsandbluesforever: With all due respect, the Blues talked about making it a series and made all the adjustments and still managed to get swept.

      The bottom line is if you don’t have the talent and/or matchup level you need, no number of adjustments will make a damn bit of difference.

  4. blomfeld - Aug 2, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    “are the Kings well positioned to repeat ?” …

    Halford would be well served by reviewing his notes from this years’ playoffs and recall that the LA King’s didn’t just beat the “best” the NHL has to offer … they “destroyed” them in detail ! Therefore, this article questioning the King’s resilience to repeat, is nothing more than journalistic flotsam ! :)

    GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. sidsthickmeatbayonet - Aug 2, 2012 at 6:23 AM

    quick cant hold fluerys jock

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