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Top 2012: A story of redemption and defying the odds

Dec 25, 2012, 8:00 AM EDT

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: Captain Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings kisses the Stanley Cup after his team defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at the Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings won the series 4-3. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

The Los Angeles Kings made history by becoming the first ever No. 8 seed to win the Stanley Cup; however, they weren’t your typical story of the little guy besting giants.

The Kings underperformed in the early part of the season, due in large part to an inability to find the back of the net despite a core of forwards that looked enviable on paper.

Mike Richards in particular didn’t live up to expectations after being acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers in a blockbuster trade over the summer of 2011.

The team’s slow start ultimately led to Terry Murray’s dismissal as head coach and the eventual hiring of Darryl Sutter. Two months later, Kings GM Dean Lombardi acquired an unhappy Jeff Carter from Columbus. Both moves proved to be critical to the Kings’ success.

Towards the end of the season, everything started to finally click. By the time the playoffs rolled around, they weren’t just defying the odds — they were doing so with style. Since the new playoff format was adopted in 1987, the Kings are the only team to ever jump to a 3-0 lead in all four series.

Suddenly Richards, reunited with Carter, was an offensive leader once more, but he wasn’t the only one redeeming himself. The Kings were firing on all cylinders, with even guys like Dustin Penner going from the man who got injured eating pancakes to a major playoff contributor.

But goalie Jonthan Quick was the key component of the team. Unlike many of his peers, he was as consistent as he was phenomenal, excelling both during the Kings’ good and bad times.

Of course, like any Cup champion, L.A. got its fair share of luck. In the first round, the Kings played a Canucks side without Daniel Sedin. Next came the Blues, minus Jaroslav Halak and without a healthy Alex Pietrangelo. Phoenix and New Jersey were the final two opponents, neither of which was considered a serious contender heading into the postseason.

But a team can only beat the teams it plays, and Los Angeles beat all four handily.

And if this lockout ends in time to save the 2012-13 campaign, the Kings will be defending their first Stanley Cup in franchise history with a team almost identical to the one that won it.

  1. sportsfan69 - Dec 25, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    All my friends at PHT, Merry Christmas. Hopefully, the LA Kings can raise their Stanley Cup banner in January. Herr Blomfeld can celebrate.

    Marcel Dionne is one of my favorite old time hockey players. I know, I may be the minority here, but I really liked the old Kings away uniforms with the crown seal.

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 25, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Best of all those uniforms were designed to fit into the old Fabulous Forum’s purple and gold motif, along with the Lakers’ jerseys.

  2. giantssb42champs - Dec 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    It’s so great that the Kings finally brought home a cup for some longtime loyal fans in LA. Bittersweet thing is that they may be the last champions ever crowned in the NHL.

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 25, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Nah, the NHL will be back. Maybe not for some time, but it’ll be back. The bittersweet part is finally winning Lord Stanley’s Cup and not being able to defend it. Kinda like being surprised the prom queen has accepted your date proposal, having a great time at the dance punking all your friends and rivals, and then finding out she’s going far away to college.

  3. ron05342 - Dec 25, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Typo in story…the year 1997 is incorrect, should be 1987.

    Total domination, so many records set. 3-0 lead in every series, 10 straight road victories, never faced an elimination game, on and on and on…what a run!

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 25, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      Good eye. Looks like Ryan has fixed it.

  4. shortsxit34 - Dec 25, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    This lockout is killer for the Kings here in LA.

    Like ’93, this was a chance to grow hockey in California. Hockey will always have its core of loyal followers here, but this was a chance to turn casual fans into hardcore fans. All of a sudden *everybody* was a Kings fan last Spring (this is a bandwagon city, afterall). The Kings could have had thousands of new fans and hundreds of new youth players.

    Instead, everybody’s forgotten they even won…

  5. manchestermiracle - Dec 25, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Watched the replays of the Finals games the other night for the umpteenth time. It never seems to get old. Plus it’s a great way to relive the triumph without buying the DVD, so no money out of my pocket to the NHL.

  6. blomfeld - Dec 25, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    THEY WERE “CRAZY” GOOD !

    Regardless of whether or not you’re a Kings fan, the simple truth is that such a “dominating” playoff march like hasn’t been witnessed for generations! … in fact you probably have to go back to the Oilers of the mid 80’s to find anything even remotely comparable!

    As a long time Kings fan myself, I readily admit that over the years there have been periods where I could only muster a “cursory” investment in terms of my emotions towards the team and it’s fortunes … and the start of last year was one such period. But something happened to me this past January which I can’t explain? All of a sudden and out of the blue, I found myself “riveted” again by their every doing and my old, deep and inner “passions” were being mysteriously rekindled? By the time the playoffs started with us facing the heavily favored Canucks, well suffice it to say that it was already too late. I was completing “all in” emotionally with my beloved Kings again, come hell or high water! And trust me friends, for a guy like Blomfeld that can be dangerous, as I simply don’t understand the word “compromise” with the things in life that matter!

    When I look back on it all now though, I still maintain that there was one “precise” moment when I truly knew that what I was feeling in my heart wasn’t just wishful thinking. It happened right “then and there” in game five during overtime, when Jarret Stoll picked up that loose puck and proceeded to bury it behind Schneider. From that moment onward friends, I honestly knew in my heart of hearts that this was to be “our” year and that positively “nothing” could ever have a chance of standing in our way!

    My name is Blomfeld and I am a very happy man! :) GO KINGS GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • id4joey - Dec 25, 2012 at 9:30 PM

      blomfeld, I was at Staples Center last year on Dec 31 attending the game vs the Canucks. I was both pleasantly surprised and very impressed with the Kings level of play and intensity. More importantly, they played with the same level of intensity from the first shift to the last. Can’t say that I pegged them as a cup contender, but certainly expected them to have a good run.

      • blomfeld - Dec 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        Joey – Great sidebar friend, as Coach Sutter must have been at the helm by that point? I don’t know what it is or how he does it, but the guy has had such a wonderful effect on the team. His demeanor and humor during the playoffs last year was positively priceless! I just hope it can continue into this year, once we get things finally under way.

  7. sportsfan69 - Dec 25, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Hey Blomfled,

    Which is your favorite King’s uniform? New or old?

    • blomfeld - Dec 25, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      My friend, it’s the old purple with gold trim … there’s nothing quite like it ! :)

  8. LoyalFan34yrsGoKings - Dec 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    GOKINGSGO

  9. northstars17 - Dec 27, 2012 at 6:41 AM

    I can tell you first hand from living near LA, hockey was very popular in Spring. However, the fan interest is GONE. the owners of the NHL believe the casual fans have no idea there is a lock out going on and for the most part they are right. But its going to hurt them hard from the hardcore fans who buy season tickets every year. my uncle is not renewing his just because of the lockout. we are going to watch the games on TV and TV ONLY. empty seats is what the league deserves.

    LA is going to he remembered forever as the team Wayne Gretzky the Great One played some of his best hockey here… and the Kings miraculous run in 2012 to win the Stanley cup that seemed to come out of nowhere. one of those runs you just can’t duplicate. it was historic and the players will most likely be slowley traded and soon enough we got good old LA hockey again which is winning gritty battles but never seem to play effective come playoff time.

    The names of the Kings will be looked back on as as “all star” team in the years to come. when you think of the talent it was rediculous. but as we know talent only takes you so far and you need to play flawless as a collective team.

    Brown, Quick, Richards, Carter, Kopitar, Doughty, Stoll, Lewis, Clifford, Scuderi, Penner, King, Nolan, Mitchell, and I’m probably drawing a few blanks on some top guys too!

    may we all hope the Kings continue their success…however that is wishful thinking when there is no league. all the momentum has been haulted, and for those of you who know hockey… it is nothing but a game of MOMENTUM! but as I said LA has enough core fans, the NHL owners know this market is safe, and are banking on it continuing success. its going to be the rough markets that hit an all time low. we go to Ducks games and the opponents fanbase’s are the only ones putting butts in seats! especially the original 6 teams, they double Ducks fans. All the season ticket holders just sell their tickets to make money. sure the 2007 cup was great, but Orange County is the most popular spot for youth hockey in southern Calif. and were talking 6 years later now, the impact of the cup is another epic memory short lived. hopefully the greedy owners stand down and do what’s right for the game… OR the players take whatever they can get NOW because its all they’re gunna get!

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