Actually, they may leave the NHL's Western Conference championship hardware behind. Kings captain Dustin Brown didn't even look at the trophy after the Kings beat Phoenix tonight 4-3 in sudden death overtime. Players don't play hockey to win that unknown object. Some consider it bad luck to touch any trophy but the one they play for. The Kings open the Stanley Cup final in either New York or New Jersey on May 30..
It will be the first visit to the final round for the Kings since 1993, when Wayne Gretzky was team captain. They lost that year to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.
What you don't see in the picture that the Phoenix fans are pelting Brown with boos, catcalls and some thrown objects. Shortly before the game ended, he ran into a Coyotes player who went down injured. The Phoenix bench felt Brown threw out a knee to cause an intentional injury, though the TV replays don't back that up. The players were so mad there was a lot of jawing with Brown during the traditional handshake line that marks the end of the playoff series.
The Kings eliminated Phoenix in five games, meaning that in the playoffs so far they have won 12 games, lost 2, and eliminated three teams that had better records during the season.
* By the way: The trophy does have a name and a history, but who cares? Certainly not the players.
Photo on Kings website/Max Wolfson-Getty Images