Finally, the frustration ends after 45 years
Dustin Brown had a moment of indecision. He couldn’t seem to figure out exactly how to lift the Stanley Cup. Left hand on top, or right hand? Brown finally got it, and 45 years of frustration came out.
Kings fans, who had endured the lowest of lows over the last five decades and were 19 years removed from their previous (and only) trip to the Stanley Cup final, roared their approval as Brown skated around with the Cup and handed it to his eldest teammate, defenseman Willie Mitchell.
“The city of Los Angeles has been waiting for this for 45 years,” Brown said. “There are about 20 million dreams coming true tonight.”
Fittingly, the Kings didn’t make it easy on themselves. They won the first three games of the series against the New Jersey Devils, then lost the next two and needed a Game 6 win on home ice in order to avoid a return trip to New Jersey for Game 7.
Now, the Kings can celebrate Tuesday rather than get on a plane.
“You’ve got to learn how to win,” Stoll said. “You can’t be scared to win. You’ve got to go through it. We definitely had to battle, these last couple years, to raise this thing.”
Brown shows respect for elders in Cup handoff
–As some championship teams have done, the Kings broke with tradition a bit when they passed around the Stanley Cup. Captain Dustin Brown first handed it off to 35-year-old defenseman Willie Mitchell, the team’s oldest player, who had never won the Cup. It then went to veteran winger Simon Gagne, who missed more than half of the season with a concussion.
–Ironically, for a team that had struggle so much on the power play all season, the Kings clinched the Stanley Cup on the power play. New Jersey’s Steve Bernier took a five-minute boarding penalty with 9:50 remaining in the first period, and the Kings scored three power-play goals on six shots on the major penalty.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “These guys, you know what, since March 1, they’ve lost about six games. They’ve taken a lot of public negativity toward them. Look what they’ve just done. Pretty awesome. Tells you what type of players they are.” — Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
–D Rob Scuderi was on the ice to celebrate his second Stanley Cup victory in the last four years — Scuderi also won with Pittsburgh in 2009 — and that was somewhat remarkable given the huge hit Scuderi took in the first period. Scuderi crumbled to the ice after a hit from New Jersey’s Steve Bernier, a hit that cost Bernier a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct. Scuderi missed the final nine-plus minutes of the first period but returned for the second period.
–LW Simon Gagne found the postgame celebration to be extra special given that he didn’t know if he would play again. Gagne suffered a concussion on Dec. 26 and didn’t return until Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final, in a fourth-line role. Gagne, a member of the 2010 Philadelphia team that lost in the Cup final, won the Cup for the first time. “Everything happens for a reason, I guess,” Gagne said. “It’s worth it. It’s unbelievable. I’ve been in the league for 12 years, and it’s so hard to win. It’s unbelievable. It’s so hard to win. Even when we were up 3-0, it was hard.”
–G Jonathan Quick was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP. Quick’s .946 save percentage tied for the best in NHL playoff history for goalies with at least 10 games played. Patrick Lalime also had a .946 save percentage for Ottawa in 2002. “I don’t think it was a shock at all,” Kings D Rob Scuderi said. “He was our MVP by a landslide this season, and the postseason even more. So, congratulations to him and his award.”