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The Kings Cup

The Kings Game 2 star Jeff Carter celebrates with hockey’s most prized trophy the Stanley Cup.
(Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Kings shocked the sports world during this NHL postseason.  At a time when NHL coverage on the news and sports channels usually takes a back seat to what is happening in the NBA’s postseason,  the Kings had all of the attention.  On Monday night the Kings won Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils. It was   their first Stanley Cup trophy in the franchises 45 year history.

It was an amazing year for the Kings who began the year with not very high expectations.  Some figured they could make the playoffs but no one had any idea what was about to occur when the season kicked off last Fall.

The Kings had an average regular season finishing with a record of 40 wins, 27 loses and 15overtime loses.  When April started and the final games before the post season were about to be played many thought the Kings would not even qualify for the playoffs.  Well they did but barely and got the placed in the playoffs as the 8th seed.  The Kings faced off against the 1st seeded Vancouver Canucks and shocked the hockey world by taking the series in 5 games.  It was their first time making it out of the first round since 2001.  The Kings then swept the 2nd seeded St. Louis Blues and the hockey world started to think, maybe these guys are for real.  It was confirmed when the Kings took game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Phoenix Coyotes by a score of 4-3 in overtime to advance into the Finals.  The Kings made history during this incredible playoff run by being the first 8th seeded team to beat both the 1st and 2nd seeded teams in the playoffs.

There were high expectations for the Kings by the time they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.  They were so dominant and seemed to breeze through the first 3 rounds.  The Kings did not lose any road games during the first 3 rounds of the NHL postseason.  The Kings had about a week off before the Cup was to begin.  Some were worried they might lose the momentum they had built up in the previous month of play.  Momentum ended up not being a problem for the Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Stanley Cup Finals started on May 30th between the Kings and the Devils.  Game 1 took place in New Jersey and the sports world was on the edge of it seat to see if the Kings could keep up their incredible run and capture the cup.  The Kings took game 1 in overtime by a score of 2-1 with a goal from Anze Kopitar.  Game 2 was a similar story when both teams were tied 1-1 after 3 periods.  The Kings received a goal from Jeff Carter to win the game 2-1 over the Devils.

Games 3 and 4 took place in L.A. at the Staples Center.  The Kings would blow out the veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur and the Devils 4 goals to 0.  As game 4 approached it looked like the Kings would get the sweep and make NHL History not only for their playoff run but their Finals run as well.  With game 4 came disappointment came with a 3-1 lose as the series would then head back to New Jersey for game 5.

Game 5 was another disappointment with a close 2-1 lose.  But the good news was that the series was headed back to L.A. for game 6 and the Kings were only 1 win away from the Championship.

Game 6 brought an incredible blow out victory.  The Kings goaltender Johnathan Quick was named the series MVP for his great play during the Finals.  Quick also had a great postseason overall winning 16 games and only losing 4 over the month and a half playoff season. The Kings defeated the Devils 6-1 and sealed their place in NHL History as one of the most surprising champions to have ever come out of the NHL postseason.

This Stanley Cup victory will never be forgotten by the hockey world or the sports world for that matter.  The city of L.A. needed this victory at a time when the Lakers and Clippers both were knocked out of the NBA Playoffs early.  The city of L.A. got red hot over the Kings outstanding postseason run.  Many casual fans that disappeared when Wayne Gretzky left the team for the Rangers in the late 90’s were back.  The American Hockey scene needed this victory as well.  This could spark excitement and push the sport even further in the American Culture.

The Kings are as they proved a very talented and young team that could dominate the NHL for years to come.  I know that many fans will be waiting for next season to see if the Kings return to their 2012 playoff form.  But until then we should acknowledge how great of a team this was and how much of a story book playoff run this 2011-2012 Kings team had.  Long live the Kings!

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NHL History That May Go Unseen By Many

The L.A. Kings and the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals
(Getty Images)

The L.A. Kings are charging through the Stanley Cup Finals this week.  The Kings are up on the New Jersey Devils by 3 games.  The Kings have the chance to sweep the Devils in game 4 on Wednesday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  If the Kings win the Stanley Cup they will be known as one of the greatest playoff teams in the history of the sport.  It has been an improbable run for the Kings but they have shown everyone what they can do on the ice during this post season.  A sweep would make the 2011-2012 Kings story and legacy even greater.  The unfortunate thing about game 4 is that many fans will not be able to watch the broadcast and will miss seeing NHL history made on live television.

Game 4 of the Cup will be aired on the NBC Sports Network (NBCS).  NBCS is in far fewer homes than most cable networks.  The first 2 games of the Stanley Cup aired on the main NBC Network, if needed games 5, 6 and 7 will also be on the Network channel.  Due to scheduling issues games 3 and 4 were relegated to the fledgeling sports network.

Late last year the NHL signed a 10 year deal with NBC.  It was a good deal for many reasons.  It will bring more nationally televised games to the American audience.  Weekly hockey nights air during the season.  The playoffs also receive great coverage between the NBC family of networks.  The down side is what we are witnessing this week.  One of the most important games of the series for both teams will largely go unseen.

This television deal is however a lot better than what was previously in place for the NHL.  Most of the games were televised on VS. which this year became NBCS.  The problem the NHL had on the VS. Network was that many fans did not get the channel in their homes.  Even though there has been a name change there has not been a big increase in homes that receive the channel.  At least the NHL does get a lot of games on National TV now via the main NBC Network.

The NHL had better television deals in the past that catered to the national audience.  During the 90’s the NHL had a deal with FOX and covered the NHL and the Stanley Cup Finals very well.  Probably the best deal they have ever had in the US was with ESPN.  Even though ESPN is a cable network, it has a very wide reach and many people have access to the channel.  The NHL also received a lot more coverage on the networks flagship show Sportscenter.  The NHL’s relationship ended after the 2003-2004 season.  ESPN has cut a lot of hockey coverage in the past few years.  Hockey has seen a drop in popularity in the US due to the way the television coverage has been in the last 7 years.

I understand that television deals are a very complicated thing.  Their however is no reason why the Stanley Cup finals should not be carried in it entirety on the NBC Network.  The NHL needs to get this situation changed so it no longer happens.  The early parts of the NHL Playoffs can and should be on all the networks under the NBC umbrella, not the Stanley Cup Finals.  It is a great tradition with a even greater history and should be treated as such.

If you get NBCS in your home, I suggest you watch and enjoy the greatness of the Stanley Cup Finals and the story of a great Kings team.  If you don’t get NBCS there is only one thing you can do,  Wait for the highlights.

Los Angeles King Advance to The Stanley Cup Finals

The L.A. Kings are on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Its their first time since 1993 when NHL Legend Wayne Gretzky played for the Kings.  The Kings have never won the Stanley Cup and are more than ready to capture it this year.

The Kings had an average regular season finishing with a record of 40 wins, 27 loses and 15overtime loses.  When April started and the final games before the post season were about to be played many thought the Kings would not even qualify for the playoffs.  Well they did but barely and got the placed in the playoffs as the 8th seed.  The Kings faced off against the 1st seeded Vancouver Canucks and shocked the hockey world by taking the series in 5 games.  It was their first time making it out of the first round since 2001.  The Kings then swept the 2nd seeded St. Louis Blues and the hockey world started to think, maybe these guys are for real.  Last night it was confirmed when the Kings took game 5 against the Phoenix Coyotes by a score of 4-3 in overtime to advance into the Finals.  The Kings made history during this incredible playoff run by being the first 8th seeded team to beat both the 1st and 2nd seeded teams in the playoffs.

The Kings star through this playoff season has been their American born Right Wing Dustin Brown.  Brown scored 7 goal, 9 assists and had 3 game winning goals in the playoffs.  He has been their leader and the rest of the team has followed with incredible play.  If he keeps it up he will definitely take the MVP trophy in the Stanley Cup.

The Kings must wait now to find out their opponent.  The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are still battling it out in the Eastern Conference Finals.  The Ranger and the Devils are set to play Game 7 tonight in New York.  I have a feeling that the Rangers will take the game and advance to their first Finals since 1994.  We will find out really soon.

L.A. Kings fan holding a sign that says it all.
(Getty Images)

The Kings have really sparked interest in Los Angeles for Hockey.  The city has had their loyal fans but the casual fans left when Gretzky went to play for the Rangers in the late 1990s.  The L.A. Sports Scene is really different this summer with the Lakers and the Clippers already out of the NBA Playoffs.  The city of Los Angeles needs the Kings right now.  This is the perfect opportunity for the Kings to brighten up the city with Hockey excitement.

I feel this is a Kings team that is destined to win the Cup this year.  I did not think so going into the playoffs but I have seen the playoff greatness.  This would be one of the most surprising NHL Playoff runs we have ever seen if they can capture the cup.  We could be calling it the “King’s Cup”  in just a matter of a couple of weeks.