Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Stamkos scores twice as Bolts edge Flyers

    Oct 31, 2014, 2:30 AM EDT

    Steven Stamkos AP

    Rookie Jonathan Drouin played less than 10 minutes in the win.

  2. Video: Burrows catches Emelin with a late hit (Updated)

    Oct 31, 2014, 1:34 AM EDT

    New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens - Game One Getty Images

    Michel Therrien “That was a dirty hit to the head”

  3. Video: Daniel Sedin scores overtime winner

    Oct 31, 2014, 1:01 AM EDT

    Canucks AP

    Canucks conclude October with a 7-3 record.

  4. Hossa reaches milestone as Blackhawks top Sens

    Oct 31, 2014, 12:40 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 12.19.19 AM

    Picked up his 1,000th point.

  5. Report: Thomas Vanek involved in money laundering scandal

    Oct 30, 2014, 10:56 PM EDT

    Thomas Vanek AP

    Allegedly endorsed a New York Islanders pay check to cover gambling debt

  6. Video: Bruins’ Marchand scores off his glove

    Oct 30, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

    Brad Marchand AP

    The play was reviewed and was ruled a good goal.

  7. Sens’ Lehner welcomes baby boy

    Oct 30, 2014, 8:48 PM EDT

    Robin Lehner AP

    Absent from tonight’s game against the Blackhawks.

  8. Video: Sabres’ Ennis, Moulson sandwich Bruins’ Marchand

    Oct 30, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    bradmarchandsmirkgetty Getty Images

    Was slow to the bench, but remains in the game.

  9. Allen off to Norfolk for conditioning

    Oct 30, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Bryan Allen Getty Images

    Recovering from a lower body injury.

  10. Video: Lucic and Stewart drop the gloves

    Oct 30, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings v Boston Bruins - Game Five Getty Images

    Two big boys land some pretty good shots.

  11. Flames place Backlund on IR, recall Ferland

    Oct 30, 2014, 7:07 PM EDT

    Mikael Backlund Getty Images

    Abdominal injury hits the center once again.

  12. Leafs recall Percy as insurance policy

    Oct 30, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

    Adds depth as Toronto travels to Columbus.

Featured video

Worst team in the NHL?

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. C. Crawford (3193)
  2. E. Staal (2795)
  3. A. Kopitar (2458)
  4. E. Kane (2365)
  5. M. Gaborik (2351)
  1. P. Stastny (2278)
  2. D. Heatley (1929)
  3. V. Nichushkin (1907)
  4. N. Foligno (1903)
  5. V. Hedman (1866)