2013 Stanley Cup Champions – Can the Los Angeles Kings Repeat?

Go ahead. You know you want to. Lift it above your head. Be careful. Alright, that’s enough. Put it down. Gently. Soak it in. Watch as it glistens in the sunlight. Beautiful. Run your hands along it. Allow your fingers to take in all of the names engraved into the silver. That’s what history feels like. Be delicate. This is not about ego, this is about glory. Feel the grooves that run between each ring. The bowl itself. Yes, there are names in there too. Observe the exquisite craftsmanship. An object that rewards a considered touch.

This is the Stanley Cup, and it’s property of the Los Angeles Kings for the moment. The question is whether or not it will remain property of our Kings a year from now.

Our victorious Kings team is intact (Sans Dwight King, but Clifford can take his spot, and King is an RFA and still Kings property and so could sign at any moment.). On top of this, our clever architect, Dean Lombardi, has just over $8.5 million in cap space to play with.

We know what we have in the Kings: A well-coached, defensively impenetrable, offensively stacked team with brilliant goaltending, so let us focus on other teams who might threaten the Stanley Cup calling Los Angeles home for another year.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are always the first team that comes to my mind in terms of a perennial contender of the last few years. Any team with Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Letang and Fleury is a threat. Dan Bylsma is a fantastic coach. In the glorious 2012 Playoffs, though, they could not keep their emotions in check and, as a result, found themselves letting in an average of five goals per game. A year from now, this team is another year older and another year more mature, but at the same time, the Kings’ game is to get the other team off of their game. If any team can constantly frustrate another team and force the opposition into an uncomfortable style of play, the Los Angeles Kings can. We saw it with the St. Louis Blues and the Coyotes. Especially now that the Penguins have lost Jordan Staal, the Kings can match up very well with Pittsburgh. Sure, Crosby is obscenely talented, but Kopitar is a master of the two way game, and Doughty, in this year’s playoffs, put on display his considerable defensive chops. Crosby can be held in check. Malkin was contained by Couturier in this year’s playoffs. If Couturier can defend against Malkin, Mike Richards can. The list goes on. A strength of the Kings’ lineup is that it contains many two way players, and so players like Kopitar and Richards can defend against players like Crosby and Malkin (who are less skilled defensively), and go on the offensive. The wild card is Marc-Andre Fleury. When the Penguins won the cup in 2009, he played exceptionally. In the 2012 Playoffs, he was a sieve. Even if he plays a great game, though, we have the best goaltender in the league. So there. The Kings can beat the Penguins.

The next team that could pose a hazard are the Vancouver Canucks. I hate them. You hate them. Pretty much everybody outside of British Columbia can’t stand these divers. With Daniel Sedin in the lineup, they managed to win one game against our Kings and bring another to overtime. Add Jason Garrison to the mix, and the hole left by Christian Ehrhoff’s signing with the Buffalo Sabres is finally filled. As they have been for a few years now, the Canucks are a high skill, low character team. A lesson that Dean Lombardi learned while GM of the San Jose Sharks is that a room full of talented assholes will not win championships. There is a reason that he put such emphasis on bringing in “locker room guys” when he started managing the Kings. The Kings’ room is so packed with character that Lombardi needed to bring in Carter just to create some diversity (and maybe to score goals). There is a reason that the Sharks have a choking culture, and the Canucks, as shown in four of the seven games of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, do as well. With so little leadership in the room, the Canucks are incredibly vulnerable to teams like the Kings who can keep it together through tough situations, and, as I said before, play a game that is about taking the other team off of their game. Even a healthy Canucks team will not beat this Kings team.

With the New York Rangers, it remains to be seen how their offense will shape up. They are similar to the Kings in that they have a preposterously sturdy defense, with one of the best goaltenders in the world behind it. At this point though, the Kings win in every category. I would take Brown, Kopitar, Mike Richards and Carter every day over Gaborik, Brad Richards, Callahan and Stepan. I would take Doughty, Voynov and Mitchell  over McDonagh, Del Zotto and Girardi, always. Lunqvist won the Vezina but Quick won the Conn Smythe. I’d take Quick. Even if the Rangers manage to pick up Nash, the Kings still win this matchup.

The Blues could also stand in the way of the Kings’ winning a second consecutive championship. Yes, the Kings swept the Blues in this year’s playoffs, but as the media was so fond of saying, the series was closer than the number of wins and losses indicated. The games were hard fought. Apparently. With another year of Hitchcock as coach and the Blues attending their first Hitchcock training camp, the team’s discipline will likely improve. Even with more developed discipline though, like the Rangers, I believe that the Blues have a similarly built team to the Kings, and that the Kings win the matchup every time. Once again, I’d take Brown, Kopitar, Richards and Carter over Backes, Oshie, Perron and Berglund. I’d take Doughty, Voynov and Mitchell over Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk and Jackman. The tandem of Halak and Elliot doesn’t even hold a candle to our big, beautiful, baby faced goaltender. If the Kings face the Blues again in the upcoming playoffs, the stars look to be aligned for another show of Los Angeles’ superiority.

“How about the Red Wings?” You ask. “They are a model franchise! They always contend!” Sorry to say, but the Lidstrom years are over. The Red Wings also failed to pick up Ryan Suter to stem the bleeding. The Wings were a first round exit with Lidstrom. Without him, it is difficult to imagine them getting any further.

“How about the Devils?” You suggest. “We just played them in the Stanley Cup Finals a few weeks ago!” Just as the Red Wings lost Lidstrom, the Devils lost Parise. With the Captain gone, taking with him a huge chunk of the Devils’ leadership and talent up front, with Brodeur only getting older, and with Bryce Salvador unlikely to repeat his playoff performance of this last season, the Devils have missed their opportunity at the Cup.

“How about the Sharks?” you inquire, nervously. “Talk about a team loaded with talent!” More like a team loaded with assholes. On top of this team not having the leadership to carry them through the playoffs, the big names in San Jose are getting on in years. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are 32. Dan Boyle is 35. The Sharks are pretenders. They bring their fans false hope in the form of a veteran team with plenty of experience,  but this team is not built for a championship.

“How about the Blackhawks?” you propose, tensely. “Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Sharp. This team is dangerous!” Yeah, they are. Except that their goalie is terrible. Brutally awful. Not even passable. He loses them games. Get a new goalie and we’ll talk.

“How about the Wild?” You plead, fidgeting in your chair. “They just picked up Parise AND Suter!” Yeah, they did. For $7.5 million apiece. For 13 years each. $2.5 million left in cap space. Heatley is signed for 2 more years at $7.5 million per. Another pretender.

“How about the Bruins or the Capitals?” You vociferate anxiously, the Kings fan in you trying desperately to find a reason that the Kings cannot win another championship. Conn Smythe Winner, Tim Thomas, stopped calling Boston home. He’s done and they’re done contending. Three seven game series’ en route to the Stanley Cup. Thomas stole them their championship. The Capitals? Bring some depth in and we’ll talk.

“How about the Predators or the Coyotes?” You demand hysterically, grasping desperately for any team that could possibly stand in the way of 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. No Ryan Suter. No Ray Whitney. Potentially no Shane Doan. Don’t make me laugh. The pieces are in place for a Kings’ repeat. Stop searching for roadblocks.

You glance around turbulently, crazed, before focusing, placid. A sly smile slithers across your face. In the tone of a hunter who has just caught his prey, “How about a lockout?” you question, already knowing the answer. You got me there.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

37 replies

  1. The Cup is the hardest trophy in professional sports to win for a reason, and a repeat winner has not existed since the 1990’s. Can they repeat, yes, it’s possible. 1) Stability – They kept their winning team intact and have cap room to add a piece (Doan I think. I don’t think Sutter would do it, but how much fun would a Brown-Richards-Doan line be?) , they are a close team and stuck by each other through the storm that engulfed most of the year, even when the media and fans doubted them. That’s huge…and was a key part of their sucess, they believed in the guy next to them on the bench .
    2) Sutter- It took about 2 months and a velvet glove but when Sutter’s system was cooking on all cylinders from early March, it worked and it worked well. No team played better or \more consistantly offensively or defensivley thru June. (And hears hoping that the rumors of Tony Granato being added as teh offensive coordinator are true) He’s old school and doesn’t take any nonense from the team, calls them out when they dont’ perform and they clearly respond to his technique. With him for a full year, from training camp on, they will be sucessful and should be seeded at the top and the end of the regular season
    3) health- Playoffs minus key players spells early out usually . Look what happened to Boston this year, they lost 3 or 4 guys and it cost them. The Kings were lucky, guys played hurt but nothing that kept htem off the ice or productive. Gagne aside, they kept the whole team from game 1 to the end. That was HUGE.
    4) Depth at center- Pierre LeBrun said after the Canucks were killed off, that he felt the Kings had a great shot at going all the way because no team in the playoffs had 2 centers that dominate 200 feet of ice like Richards and Kopitar. And he’s right. They both handle themselves well in the own zone and eat up the clock with puck possesison time in the opponents zone. I don’t know of a team that has 2 centers who play at the high level and skill they do on both sides of the puck.

    So can they repeat? Yes, they can. I’d love to see a Pitts/Kings final.

    Thats right, I said it, and I’ll say it again!

  3. Hockey is one of the few sports that predictions hold very little weight. There’s so much variance in hockey because chemistry, effort, and timing cannot reasonably be predicted as a unit. All that exists in other team sports, but hockey seems to require more of each than most. With that said, I do believe you can separate the teams capable of winning the cup from those that cannot. The list generally becomes rather long though.

    The Kings run through the playoffs certainly makes them the favorite. Interesting to see how the betting odds play out closer to the season opener. Being the incumbent isn’t always fun in hockey. Expect many teams best efforts against us. Should be a fun season.

  4. Outstanding topic.

    First, I would expect the Kings to be Division Champs, get a high seed for the West in any event. I figure they will be getting home ice to some degree. Yeah, we know this is not as important as maybe in past years, but, I think for game 7s there is an edge with the fans roaring and technical home rules. Who knows, I would like for the team to shoot for the President trophy, since that has eluded the Kings. Why not? That would be an okay banner to raise at Staples. I want to see that south wall with a lot of black, white and purple. But, in any event, it is optional as the Kings are going to be a threat for a two-peat.

    Second, I am not noticing mention of Philly East, the Capital of Canada, the palm trees from alligator land, or the electrical high voltage guys playing off the Gulf of Mexico. I am not implying any of these clubs have the physics to pull off a cup, but, I could foresee an East final with Kanata vs Manhattan or Kanata vs Steel (Rust) City. You might get the electric guys to sneak in. Stamkos can at times (big question mark) carry a team on his shoulders, but he has to get more gas from some of his mates to get there.

    Third, at this early point, I don’t want to jump the gun and downplay so fast the Wild North Stars, since they are basically an unknown commodity until we seen how they come out of the gate in October and November. I would want to watch some games and read the stats and size up matters. It could be that they need to have a year or two to really threaten by coalescing with each other to play as a full 4 line team. But, again, I would like to take a pass on them for now and judge the story with them around Turkey Day.

    Fourth, in the West, I am inclined to be the most concerned about the State of Misery Blues. Yeah, they had a great turn around year. They had that “old it was nice to be here attitude” in the second round. Maybe Elloit returns to his prior form of sad stories from his Ottawa days. Maybe Halak just cannot duplicate the strong year. So if they cannot get the offense rolling and if the net minding is flat, they are out early. But, if they put the secret sauce into the pot and have a hot team, that could be a game seven in Staples. I hope I am dead wrong on that team and they will self destruct in some way which may indeed be the odds for that happening in any event. Climbing that Cup mountain has many slippery slopes which could or even should drop them off when the going gets tough.

    Fifth, given the failures of Riot City and the Silicon Valley hammerheads, they are jinxed and head cases and somehow manage to find ways to shoot themselves in the foot. I really don’t want to dig deep into analysis of those North of us, but, the pattern and tradition has been set that there is always some sob story, excuse, or controversy that upsets their carts.

    So, yeah, I really, really like the Kings for a two-peat, which is so fantastic since this is a place I could never enter before but just in my dreams. But now the reality has 100% sunk in, that our Kings are loaded with elite levels of skill and individual desire for a unified team mission to keep the Cup. Winning and being champions should be the best magical motivation going for them. Not only that, but there are guys on the team that I know can step it up a notch and crank out great stats in all dimensions. If that happens, it will be scary fun come next April to June.

    All I know, is that I am now totally infatuated (lustful?) with hockey in June in LA, and I will bet these guys are too!

  5. Great article. Looking forward to seeing the season play out. Should be a good year. Go Kings Go!

  6. im with ya. someone order the caps and t-shirts!

  7. Doan, please join our repeat.


    Are you fricking kidding me? Look at that lineup!

    Jesus, come on Doan. Have you ever been part of a lineup like that? End your career with a cup, son.

  8. With Kopi having his breakfast of champions, of course the Kings can win a two-peat!:


  9. This is awesome. The first paragraph took me back to stealing my dads penthouse mags in the early 80s

  10. I hate Doan. Does anyone else feel the same way?

    • I think most people would agree – yet, that’s his MO. You hear this about a lot of players…hate him has an opponent yet love him as a teammate. I thought Doan was the best non-King in the entire post season. He really impressed me. What he did to Richards left me lost for words. He’s a master of the physical game and scores many points along the way. He can impact the game in so many different ways. A true “C” in this game. How he stood up for his teammate against DB at the end of the series is what a captain should do. Class will always come second to winning and teammates for a old school player like Doan.

      He’s certainly on our wish list. I don’t expect him to come here so really fuck the guy.

  11. I think the Kings have the best chance of any team to repeat since the Wings did it. They said it couldn’t be done when the cap came in, but this team is surely poised to do it, if they reamain healthy. GO KINGS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. As the team currently is I am comfortable calling the Kings solid second rounders, at least. I reason that this past season the Kings had several advantages they will most likely not have have again for at least a generation.

    The opposition had no chance to prepare in a meaningful fashion.
    –First, who the hell were King and Nolan? No coach or player was prepared for their style of play or their moves.
    –Second, knowing how Carter would fit and how to defense him.
    –Third, this is the Kings for Christ sake. #13 in over all. Give them a series, a stick and they’ll blow it. Again, no meaningful perpetration.

    Now everyone will watch and study the Kings for several many reasons. The on ice success. The off ice cap management program.

    It was bizarre to sit through a Stanley Cup run and experience almost no anxiety. The likely hood of that happening again…almost zero.

    • I have already mentioned that Dwight King could be a discovered rough diamond gem that needs just some great extra coaching and assistance from his teammates where we have a big producer and big body around the net.

      As a reminder, as it has not been mentioned much, look at the Stoll OT Winner in game 5 with the Canucks, where you can see King was in on the winning play.

      Check this out again, and see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JxArJ4pTJM

      His impressive hustle and instincts were spontaneous to jump into the play, down the left slot, positioning himself as a threat for a pass or rebound with Stoll coming in on the right slot. If anything, King’s position was a distraction to the defender and to Cory Schneider, which maybe contributed to the winning series goal.

      To me, King’s rapid reaction to the bang-bang play is top of the line and what the big stars in the league are doing all the time. This is why I have high hopes for the young kid.

      • Rule #1: Follow the play, head to the net. I have to agree that King has potential. I felt by the time NJ rolled around he was about half as effective because, I assume, by then the scouts had his number and the quality of the opposition improved a notch.

        Still, I feel your right. King will pan out as a valuable asset.

  13. There’s one more reason that I think that the Kings have a good chance at a repeat that hasn’t been mentioned. Kompon is gone. If the Kings continue with the way they played leading into the playoffs continuing into the playoffs and add a power play that actually produces, I think they have a good chance of repeating. But, like everyone has stated, it takes a lot to win a Stanley Cup… hopefully, this team can make history… again.

  14. This guy’s a douche! Please be sure to let him know even though a lot of people already have.

    • I read that article this morning. There is no point to it. I was tempted to write about it but that will just draw more attention to Ken Campbell and giving that idiot and the garbage The Hockey News has become a link and hits seems counterproductive.

      • Indeed. The only point to it seems to be insulting the Kings and especially their fans. I can’t believe they even let this garbage get published. Boycott the Hockey News kids!

        • I don’t think what Campbell wrote was particularly offensive to L.A. fans. He does repeat the la-la celeb horseshit, but we’ve gotten that shit thrown at us for so long we’d have to have pretty thin skins to get pissed off by it.

          What he says generally about teams that have just won the Cup isn’t all that obnoxious. In fact, there’s more than a little truth in it.

          That being said, Campbell can still kish mir in loch arein.

    • That article is crap and the comments of it back that up. It’s interesting how the mainstream hockey media doesn’t want LA to succeed. But as one of the comments pointed out the real feat isn’t just winning the cup but that the team stayed in LA for 45 years without winning a cup! No other teams stayed in LA and I think are the only of the second 6 that hasn’t threatened to leave. (Well maybe the Flyers haven’t but that’s as hockey as a town can get.) Really, I think as fans we should be proud that this team has survived in a sunny climate for 45 years given how many years this team was awful! Stick that Campbell!

  15. Off topic, but has anyone attended the prospects camp? Can someone give us a report ?

    • We have a friend who was going to attend and take video. Surly is working on that. Let’s see if he chimes in. Honestly, it’s been a lazy last few days for us. I am working on the book and Surly is working on his script.

      • What book? What script?

        • This one and that. You think we sit around and jack off to hockey all day, every day? We do during the season on this site but don’t change the subject.

          • What “this one and that” ?

            Novels? Spec screenplays? A history of crotch-rot?

            Why are you playing so closely to the vest? I’m not gonna rip off any of your ideas.

          • Oh, you really wanted to know? I am flattered. Mine is a novel, fiction. Surly has TV scripts. I don’t have any crotch-rot scenes in mind but Surly might. If I do decide to incorporate any, what is your consulting rate?

  16. It is hard for me to let this guy get away with some of his misguided bashing, or maybe he has some kind of axe to grind. Maybe he just wants to stir up the pot and piss people off.

    In any event, the vast majority of time Staples has had excellent attendance for Kings’ games. The franchise in the last ten years has done a tremendous amount of very effective pubic relations to expose the team and build up interest. The LA Live buildout has been an additional boon to the franchise. There has been an economic revival around Staples.

    Many NHL cities have local VIPS and celebrities. Why should LA being the home of Hollywood and entertainment get any kind of bad rap because it is inhabited by that vibrant and key industry.
    Wall St millionaires and billionaires take limos to the Madison Square garden for Rag games. Does any one care or criticize that? Silicon Valley moguls are chauffeured to San Jose games. Who cares one way or the other who shows up or not. I am a Kings fan based on the great love for the sport and this team that grew up with over so many years.

    Who cares that in Washington DC a bunch of Congress people and federal bureaucrats show up to watch Cap games. It makes no difference. Maybe Obama shows up for a game or two, and so what, and who cares.

    This guy is clueless that there is in fact a great deal of wide spread awareness of the Kings over the years given the 20 million population in SoCal. Sure, there will be millions that could care less about the Kings and know nothing about hockey. Those will never care about hockey in LA. But, that also applies for Miami, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Denver, etc, etc.

    The Cup championship will be now a huge game changer where there will be higher demand for tickets and higher ticket prices to boot. If anything, there may be more VIPs and celebrities on average than in past years.

    This guy says the Kings will be running on fumes on popularity for this summer and it will fade away. If anything, his brain is filled with fumes and is running on empty.

  17. Ken Campbell is the biggest hores’s ass on a publication that is rapidly becomming irrelevant to real hockey fans. This is just the latest and worst of the drivel that he has written lately.

  18. I’m surprised that no one on here so far has mentioned the article Ken Campbell had written for THN when DL was rumored to hire Sutter. I saved it and thought it would be interesting to look back on to see if he was right or wrong.
    Here is a bit of what he wrote: ‘Therefore, the fact they’re even considering replacing Murray with Sutter is nothing short of confusing. The Sutter way, which is heavy on rhetoric about hard work and short on success, involves playing suffocating, mind-numbing defensive hockey that is enjoyable to neither watch nor play. And Los Angeles is one of those markets in the NHL where the team not only has to be successful, it has to be entertaining. With Sutter in charge, we predict the Kings will be neither of those.’

    Yeah, good call on that one sir. He didn’t quite get it right that time. If you keep writing enough you figure that sooner or later you’ll be on to something I suppose.

    • Sutter wasn’t overly popular at this site at that time, either.

      • Actually we didn’t hate him. We expressed concern and then wrote an article giving him a clean slate before his first game. But yeah we didn’t exactly jump for joy at the announcement although I was just happy the Terry Murray era was over. I told Surly before he started that Sutter could not possibly be worse

  19. Wow, thanks for pointing this one out. Looks to me management needs to call security and walk him out the door to his car and say adios. They can deliver his belongings from his desk via UPS.

  20. I like your thinking. And if the team gets stale, Manchester is stacked with talented new blood. Im anxious to see Deslauriers.

  21. I think you underestimate the Wild. They did have an insane half season+ streak last year and added Parise and Suter. I suspect they’ll still be just barely short of having what it takes, but they are certainly very dangerous. Their cap structure will probably hurt them long term, but the next year or two I think they’ll be okay.

  22. With a goaltender in Chi., they move past Phx. and we play them in the Conf. final. As you say, we can talk about them when they get one.

    You are complacent about St. Louis, and you overlook Edm. (I am aware that this will not be next year’s problem).

    Boston will be just fine next year, and I would not be too sure that we would defeat either
    them or Pitt.

    Shane Doan could help with this.


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