Aug 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
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.
Nov 20, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
Luke Schenn will take the pre-game skate.
Nov 20, 2014, 6:00 PM EST
Meanwhile, Adam Clendening will make his NHL debut tonight vs. Calgary.
Nov 20, 2014, 5:27 PM EST
The Canadiens are stockpiling blueliners, it seems.
Nov 20, 2014, 5:24 PM EST
Former teammates at Lake Superior State University, traded for each other.
Nov 20, 2014, 5:13 PM EST
“Mr. Voynov maintains his innocence and looks forward to clearing his name in court. We remain confident.”
Nov 20, 2014, 4:53 PM EST
“I don’t even remember who we play the next game.”
Nov 20, 2014, 4:43 PM EST
Faces up to nine years in prison.
Nov 20, 2014, 4:02 PM EST
The information was out there, the league argues.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:55 PM EST
A look at two of the NHL’s most intriguing coaching situations.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:24 PM EST
Are the Leafs married to mediocrity?
Nov 20, 2014, 3:19 PM EST
No makeup date announced yet.
Nov 20, 2014, 2:41 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Nov 20, 2014, 2:14 PM EST
But the guy head coach Jon Cooper really wants back is Victor Hedman.
Nov 20, 2014, 2:07 PM EST
Prized free agent signing has just one goal in 17 games.
Nov 20, 2014, 2:03 PM EST
Nine of 10 against teams that made the playoffs last season.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:19 PM EST
Edmonton lost again last night, and made a number of glaring mistakes in the process.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:12 PM EST
Wings GM Ken Holland acknowledged he took a gamble.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:06 PM EST
Stars take on Arizona tonight.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:49 AM EST
Following a listless 2-0 defeat to the Rangers.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:39 AM EST
He’s played nine games for Boston this year.
- BREAKING: Voynov charged with felony for domestic violence 14
- NHL responds to concussion lawsuit, says players should have ‘put two and two together’ 25
- (Video) PHT Extra: Carlyle’s on the hot seat, Hartley’s riding high 0
- Hextall launched profanity-laced tirade against Flyers last night 29
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him 53
- NHL watching 3-on-3 OT in the AHL closely 12
- Sens’ Murray hopes to bring cancer awareness 5
- Pens’ Dupuis has blood clot in lung, out six months 25
- It’s not all Carlyle’s fault, but the Leafs’ coach is failing at his job 12
- NHL on NBCSN: Rangers host Flyers on Rivalry Night 4
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (53)
- Wild put Harding on waivers (Updated) (52)
- After Voynov suspension, Lombardi wonders if teams need a ‘cushion’ in case a player is a ‘bank robber, kleptomaniac’ (51)
- Video: Malkin runs over Girardi (Updated) (41)
- Bettman calls Panthers relocation speculation ‘unfounded’ (36)