Victory.

The Los Angeles Kings are your 2012 Stanley Cup champions.

Many hockey fans expected the above line to come to fruition when predictions were filed away in September but the journey to which they got there was not nearly as clean cut as expected.

The 2012 Kings are a catch-22 for parity in the modern NHL. At a time when teams across the league have never been more closely matched, the Kings found a way to dominate the opposition in crunchtime — the Stanley Cup playoffs. They rolled through the President’s Trophy winning Canucks, they trounced the impervious Blues, they bullied the stubborn Coyotes, and as an eight seed no less.

The Kings were unstoppable. “Mission 16W” — as the 2001 Colorado Avalanche called it — may very well be the toughest accomplishment in all of sports, but it never seemed that way for Los Angeles. What started as surprise in Vancouver ended up being expectation in Los Angeles as the Kings continued to find ways to win without making things hard on themselves 16 times in 20 tries.

To juxtapose them with the 2011 Bruins, Los Angeles looks as though they cakewalked through a league of powderpuffs.

Yet, they did it all as the eight seed, validating them as the curious paradox that they are. A team starved for offense through 82 games — despite being loaded with talent –had to fight tooth and nail for the right to play for Lord Stanley’s mug, let alone snatch it from those higher than them on the totem pole in stunning fashion.

It was a predictable ending with a whirlwind plot. Somewhere in Los Angeles, M. Night Shyamalan is perplexed.

The opening goal yielded the almighty win in the final series, and it was clear that once Steve Bernier was sent off for the Devils amidst controversy that the series was ready to wrap itself up. A Dustin Brown goal one minute into the major penalty was the sign from P.J. Stock’s hockey gods and the Kings kept on coming as they have throughout the playoffs. Tallies from Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis before the five minutes had expired were all they would ever need with Jonathan Quick in goal.

Quick was the constant for them over the span of nine months, turning aside puck after puck and making sure that each game only needed two goals to win. The wins didn’t come easy for six of those months, but the last three were his show. Plenty of theories were bandied about on how you score him — “Shoot high, shoot quick, shoot through screens” — yet, no matter how high you shot or how quickly you shot or how many people were there in front of him when you shot, he found a way to let that puck hit him 30 or 40 or 50 times until the boys in front of him broke through. Nothing validates that effort like a win and a trophy.

The Kings won 16 times. Quick has his Conn Smythe and a ring fitting booked.

The Devils scoring to end the second period — Adam Henrique, no less — set up the perfect ending to this season in a way. Those “glue” guys we hear about in the key moments for L.A. came through. Lewis potted his second and Matt Greene iced the game. But what will be bolded and itlalicized on history’s scoresheet means much more to the 2011-12 season.

GWG: Jeff Carter

That was the moment it seemed to turn around. When Carter donned the black and silver for the first time, the Kings, under Darryl Sutter, found their swagger and began to inch closer and closer to the playoffs. While there were plenty lined up to ridicule the acquisition for an overpaid troublemaker who isn’t capable of making a difference, it was ultimately move that paid off for the Kings. With Carter up front and Slava Voynov pencilled in to the depth chart, the Kings were ready to finally show off what we knew they had in them all along.

Now, Mike Richards can add that last piece missing from his trophy case thanks to his old pal.

As the Stanley Cup is turned into the world’s most irregular champagne bottle, the Los Angeles Kings reign over the NHL for at least one year. They were the team with the best players and goaltenders, the best management and coaching, just as you would expect from the champions of any league. But, a bounce here or there between October and April and they don’t even get a shot, they’re saying ‘Congrats’ instead of saying ‘Thanks’. There’s a fine line in this league between excellence and mediocrity in this league. The Los Angeles Kings are living, partying proof.

That’s your average season in the NHL.

Comments (21)

  1. Doesnt matter who wins – if you can’t feel some happiness for a Cup winning moment, I don’t know how you can call yourself a fan. Ever year, it reminds me of what it felt like to be at MSG in ’94, and I get emotional.

  2. Congratulations to the Kings. Well Deserved. A 16 and 4 run. awesome. this makes up for 1993 and McSorley’s illegal stick gaff that costs Gretzky a stanley cup. This makes up for it. This is for Dionne, Taylor, Simmer, Nicholls, Robitaille, Blake, Duchense, Granato, Hrudey and Vachon. This is great for hockey.

    • If there’s somewhere you can sign a petition to get Marcel Dionne a ring, I’d like to know because that needs to happen.

  3. I’m fed up with the NHL being in the U.S. altogether. For 13 of the last 19 seasons since 1993, U.S. home-team franchises have feasted like vultures on the corpses of the Canadian NHL home franchises to gain Stanley Cups. They are listed as follows.

    1993-1994(N.Y. Rangers(Vancouver snuffed out in the Cup Finals))

    1995-1996(Colorado(Vancouver snuffed out in Round 1))

    1998-1999(Dallas(Edmonton snuffed out in Round 1))

    1999-2000(New Jersey(Toronto snuffed out in Round 2))

    2000-2001(Colorado(Vancouver snuffed out in Round 1))

    2001-2002(Detroit(Vancouver snuffed out in Round 1))

    2002-2003(New Jersey(Ottawa snuffed out in Conference Finals))

    2003-2004(Tampa Bay(Calgary snuffed out in the Cup Finals))

    2005-2006(Carolina(Edmonton snuffed out in the Cup Finals))

    2006-2007(Anaheim(Ottawa snuffed out in the Cup Finals))

    2009-2010(Chicago(Vancouver snuffed out in Round 2))

    2010-2011(Boston(Vancouver snuffed out in the Cup Finals again))

    2011-2012(Los Angeles(Vancouver snuffed out in Round 1))

    If you are a hockey fan who lives in Canada who cheers for a U.S. NHL club, or ANY U.S. hockey fan, you can FOREVER KISS MY ASS for your continued protection of BOTH the U.S. Cup Monopoly AND Gary Buttman’s Job.

    Do not EVER, anywhere in public, START ANY conversation about NHL affairs with ME. I have NO INTENTION of cheering ANY of the 23 U.S. NHL home franchises to titles, no matter the circumstances or talent on U.S. franchises. I will NOT apologize for taking an Anti-U.S. stance about the NHL in any chat I have about the league, and will NOT be happy till I see a Stanley Cup parade down the streets of Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, or Vancouver.

    I want the Stanley Cup parades OUT of the U.S., the NHL the FUCK OUT of the U.S., and Gary OUT of professional sports. A Stanley Cup parade down the streets of a Canadian city means Gary’s early ouster.

    I want ALL SEVEN Canadian NHL home franchises to make the playoffs next year, in 7 different series. I want ALL SEVEN of those teams to win their 1st Round series. I want the ONLY U.S. home frachise to LOSE in Round 2, and cause the Stanley Cup Final to NOT be aired on NBC/in the U.S. next season.

    In short, as a Canadian NHL franchise supporter, I WANT MY CUP BACK, MORONS!!!!

    > 8 – (

    • Hahaha man, you’re going to have a rough life man. GKG!

      • I think hes drunk and will prob regret that tomorrow…

        Its all about spending money on the back office for scouting draft and international players then forking up for the salary cap when you know you got something good.. its no secret, got a better way to make the game honest? I would like to hear it?

        NHL is for the most part one the most honest leagues in sports and you know it so shut your mouth and suck in the Kings freak-en (dic. says its a word) most deserved win of the Stanley cup.

        If you don’t like it, pick another sport maybe NFL? Can we trade?

        • Kevin B., you could only be so lucky as to have me drunk off my ass when I post online. I am as far away from hitting the bottle as possible.

          And asking someone like me, a TRUE Canadian Patriot, to cheer for any U.S. NHL club to championships is like hoping that Earth will stop orbiting it’s sun. IT DOES NOT FUCKING HAPPEN!!!

          So, take your shriveled up crank, dip it in acid, and go piss up a rope. Cause I don’t give a damn.

          > 8 – (

          • Don’t blame the US because your Canadian GM’s are too inept to build anything up there. You guys aren’t entitled to anything. Maybe your problem is the man in the Canadian mirror.

          • Tell you what. Would you rather have the Expos back? We cool? Cool.

    • Your a goof, try pulling yourself away from the computer for a minute, and actually leave your bedroom!!
      Hockey is a sport, it’s not a flag we fly! Hockey fans can be patriotic, representing their city and/or country, no matter what!! Go play the game first dummy…..

      Ragin’ Moronic

  4. I thought I’d never see this day come. I started following the Kings after I attended my first NHL game back in the early 80′s and thought ’93 was going to be my only sniff at the Cup. I moved away from the LA area back in the mid 90′s, but haven’t waivered in my support of the Kings. What happened this Spring is truly amazing and my only wish was that the Kings had won game 4 while I was in attendance. I’ll take it in 6 games, though. I would have loved to see Bob Miller hoist the Cup as well. Watching that celebration put a smile on my face that will last a very long time.

  5. as a Canadian happy to see the kings win and who appreciates what this means for their fans…I want to apologize for Ronic up there; that much rage is not necessary.

    • And you sound like someone who would jerk off all over a Canadian flag just because YOU think that all 7 Canadian NHL clubs are the bad guys in the league. That’s a dick move, you know it, and you profit from it by vicariously sponging off Buttman’s corporate welfare, just like the U.S. NHL clubs in the Southeast U.S. do every single fucking year. > 8 – (

      • You’re fun, but be realistic for a minute – the NHL could not survive at all without US teams. Two-thirds of the Original Six are US teams. This mythical “All Canada All The Time” history lesson you’re thinking of has never existed. I’m pretty sure that even Don Cherry thinks you’re over the top.

        • Nothing would make me more happy than to see Gary shove a .22 in his mouth and pull the fucking trigger till it goes BANG!!!!

          Better yet, he could televise his suicide on CBC, just so I could laugh at it.

        • Oh…and the NHL could survive not being in the U.S….no players from any other country than Canada would populate all the teams, the Canadian dollar would pay their salary, and the NHL would not have to worry about the manipulative politicking of the U.S. again.

          Fuck the NHL in the U.S. It can burn in hell for all I fucking care. > 8 – (

    • Agreed, Alex. I’m a sens fan through and through, but I’m extremely happy for the Kings and their fans. They more than deserve it and all the power to them.

  6. And does anybody actually believe that the Kings would have won with Schenn and Simmonds? Din’t think so. Now let’s all point and laugh at the Philly Flyers and their endless ineptitude.

  7. @Chris Lund – I’m almost positive the “Mission 16W” was started by the New Jersey Devils’ fanbase. The Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands (then-home of the Devils) is located at exit 16W of the NJ Turnpike.

  8. The refs won this game, not the Kings. The penalty on Bernier was questionable even as a 2-minute minor. By the time scuderi turned his back like a lil b*tch, theres no way Bernier could have avoided that hit. Then the linesman skating right into the path of our own guy n taking him out, only to have LA score right after. That game was pure horse sh*t and ruined what would have, and should have, been an awesome stanley cup finals.

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