Aug 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The defending champion Los Angeles Kings.
After decades of NHL existence without managing to win it all, the Los Angeles Kings managed that feat in two of the last three seasons. At this moment, it seems like hockey fans are witnessing a battle for supremacy between the Kings and their conference rivals the Chicago Blackhawks (both locked up with two recent titles).
In stark contrast to the 2012 Stanley Cup run in which they lost four playoff games and never faced elimination, the Kings found themselves fighting for their postseason lives with great frequency. To put it in the simplest terms, Los Angeles went from an 0-3 deficit against the San Jose Sharks to winning the Stanley Cup with a dramatic Alec Martinez overtime goal against the New York Rangers … and it rarely looked easy.
Much like in 2011-12, the Kings didn’t win their division, although qualifying for the postseason was much more comfortable this time around.
Once again, the Kings were a dominant puck possession team that opted to add a significant (if often-criticized) sniper during the trade deadline to put them over the top. Much like Jeff Carter, Marian Gaborik really helped to push the Kings over the top, especially when it came to the postseason.
Still, the core players are still what drive this Kings team. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty both made strong cases for Conn Smythe victories and other individual awards. Justin Williams finally received some mainstream attention by winning that playoff MVP. Dustin Brown was his typically cantankerous self. Jonathan Quick‘s 2014 postseason was as polarizing as his 2012 work was exalted, yet the bottom line is that the American goalie is already a two-time champion.
The scary thing for opponents is that the Kings’ best players remain in their prime years and the team didn’t deal with much in the way of turnover this offseason. In a way, the potential improvement of Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson might seem like an “upgrade” in itself.
(Re-signing Gaborik certainly doesn’t hurt matters, aside from the worries about his fragility.)
The biggest move might have been one that wasn’t made, actually, as GM Dean Lombardi opted against buying out Mike Richards. It will be interesting to see if people look back at that move as one that hinders future Carter/Gaborik-type tweaks or if it was a wise retention of a center who was once deemed elite.
While winning another Stanley Cup deprived them of a high first-rounder, the Kings stockpiled 10 selections in the 2014 NHL Draft, so it was a pretty promising summer overall for L.A.
Oct 21, 2014, 12:34 PM EDT
Scott Darling recalled from AHL Rockford.
Oct 21, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT
Skating on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
Oct 21, 2014, 11:49 AM EDT
The flip-side being…what if they lose?
Oct 21, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
“It’s something I really want to see,” said head coach Lindy Ruff.
Oct 21, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT
Another addition to the front office.
Oct 21, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
The top 2015 draft prospect has impressed the Islanders’ superstar.
Oct 21, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT
He had been recovering from shoulder surgery.
Oct 21, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT
Both players have missed the start of the season.
Oct 21, 2014, 8:33 AM EDT
And they’ll face Antti Raanta in goal.
Oct 21, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Tuesday’s collection of links.
Oct 21, 2014, 1:56 AM EDT
Get out the swear jar.
Oct 21, 2014, 1:11 AM EDT
Yeah, he was.
Oct 21, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT
It finally happened and it happened with a late goal.
Oct 20, 2014, 11:57 PM EDT
Caught Taylor Hall with a heavy hit earlier in the game.
Oct 20, 2014, 11:24 PM EDT
Now, can they hang on for the win?
Oct 20, 2014, 11:07 PM EDT
Talking about the Oilers perhaps trading one of their young players.
Oct 20, 2014, 10:39 PM EDT
Heavy hit along the boards.
Oct 20, 2014, 10:04 PM EDT
That’s about as much trash talk as you’re going to get from Willie D.
Oct 20, 2014, 9:21 PM EDT
Alex Killorn is – again, this is based on same report – out of the lineup.
Oct 20, 2014, 8:33 PM EDT
“He’s got to go and maybe play out of the spotlight that we have here in Toronto.”
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