Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kings Win the Cup

The LA Kings lost as many games in this series (2) as they'd lost in their entire playoff run leading up to the Finals. The 8th seeded Kings finished the playoffs 16-4 in one of the most astounding and impressive Stanley Cup Championship runs in recent memory.

The Kings winning is good for the NHL. It's a big market, it's a first time Champion, and American goalie Jonathan Quick won the Conn Smythe. That's back-to-back Conn Smythe wins for Americans (first time that's ever happened). It was also good for the NHL that the Devils made things interesting by winning a pair of games. And it was good that the Kings wrapped up the series before the NBA Finals started and garnered most of the country's attention.

This game turned on a reckless boarding penalty. Which is ironic, considering how significant a concern head injuries have been to the NHL recently.

Steve Bernier was given a 5 minute major for boarding Rob Scuderi. Bernier made no attempt to play the puck, Scuderi was in a vulnerable position with his body facing the boards. Bernier went in full-speed and drove Scuderi's skull into the glass. It was a correct call. Bernier got a 5 minute major and was kicked out the game. On the ensuing 5 minute power play, the Kings scored 3 times.

The Devils were upset because an earlier check from behind wasn't called against the Kings. But that hit was different from Bernier's boarding of Scuderi. Very different.

The Devils made this series interesting because of their physical play. But they went beyond the rules in Game 6, and it cost them. Brodeur was repeatedly beaten glove-side high, and Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Drew Doughty made the Devils pay.

In the last three years, the Stanley Cup has been won by Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago. It's not a bad thing that big market teams are doing well in the playoffs. It's a good thing. Although a Canadian team winning wouldn't be so bad either. So long as it's not Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver.

Congratulations to the Kings.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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