To win their second Stanley Cup in three seasons — after 45 years of futility — the Kings really did it the hard way. They began the playoffs with three straight losses to San Jose, then while facing the pressure of elimination they had to win four times. They fell behind in the series with the Anaheim Ducks, then beat them — again needing the full seven games. They then lost the first game to the Chicago Blackhawks, but came back to beat them — again in the full seven games. The New York Rangers went the easiest, on paper, losing in five games. But the games themselves were the hardest fought. Friday night's game lasted halfway through a second overtime period, and was the longest game in the Kings' franchise history, before Alec Martinez scored on a rebound and LA won 3-2.
Some of the Kings said afterward they were gassed, physically and emotionally. Since the playoffs began April 17, they had to play 26 games — the most of any Stanley Cup winner. They played all or parts of ten overtime periods. "I'm emotionally spent like I've never been before," captain Dustin Brown said after the game. But they have their second cup since the laconic Canadian Darryl Sutter arrived as coach midway through the 2011-12 season, showing a young team how to win.
One of the great things about hockey is that the first wave of celebrating takes place out on the ice, in front of the fans, and involves wives, children, girlfriends, team scouts, assistant coaches — even the PR guy was hoisting the Stanley Cup and getting his picture taken. Kings owner Phil Anschutz was there again this time, on the ice, touching the Cup. The players all carried the Cup around the ice, individually and then in a group in a salute to the fans. This all took most of an hour, with the exhausted players still on their skates and wearing their soaking wet gear. Nobody cared.
The game winner and start to the party:
At Dodger Stadium, the largest gathering in the city tonight I assume, fans watching TVs in the concourses began cheering and howling. The noise crept out into the seats, building in volume and excitement, during an uneventful at-bat by Chone Figgins. Then Vin Scully picked up on the hubub and told the audience at home what was going on, congratulating the Kings on "a remarkable, remarkable, remarkable accomplishment."
On the ice, it was a significant moment when the Kings captain chose to symbolically hand the Cup off to defenseman Robyn Regehr, who did not get to play in the final round due to injury.
Finally, the Cup reaches the locker room long after the game.
The Stanley Cup parade will be Monday along Figueroa Street, starting at 5th Street at noon and running south to Staples Center.
Nick Nickson's call on radio:
The view from Hermosa Beach:
Fans watch the winning goal and erupt at LA Live.
Finally: Hitler weighs in.