June 12, 2012

L.A. are the Kings of ice hockey

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

It is all over. The Kings of Los Angeles were finally able to land that knockout blow and silence the suddenly pesky Devils. The Stanley Cup will reside in Southern California for the second time in five years – when Anaheim took home the crown.

After keeping the Kings from the Cup for two games after going down three, Game 6 was over fairly early for the Devils. All it took was one nasty looking boarding penalty – a five-minute major – that really sealed the deal in just the first period.

Really, how often do you see a team score three goals in one power play? I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of the first times that it ever happened – playoffs or regular season.

Many will debate if Steve Bernier’s hit on Rob Scuderi deserved the five-minute variety of the penalty, but you’ll see no argument here. Scuderi no longer had the puck and had his back to Bernier. This was a recipe for disaster and the refs got it right.

Not lost on many was the fact that this final give us another first – in any pro sport. It was the first time that an eighth-seeded team won a championship. This wasn’t your average eighth seed though. This was a team that struggled early and made massive changes – firing its coach, trading for Jeff Carter – and then squeaked in while still underachieving.

But that’s why Jonathan Quick won the Conn Smythe. The Kings’ goalie was undoubtedly the best player in the entire playoffs. That’s exactly how ice hockey’s post-season goes: Get in, start blocking shots, start getting a little more chippy with your checks, hope your goalie gets hot and ride that wave as far as you can. It’s really that simple. Heck, that’s how the four conference finalists all made it to that stage.

But, lost in this game may be the loss of a legend. Let’s just hope that this wasn’t the last that we’ll from the legendary Brodeur. Going out in the Stanley Cup final after a 6-1 loss is hardly what one of the greatest ever ’keepers deserves.

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