After scoring the overtime goal for the Los Angeles Kings in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, Alec Martinez was the hero again tonight, scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal in double overtime.
26 years ago when my hometown team Edmonton Oilers traded the greatest hockey player ever, Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings, the National Hockey League had high hopes that this would increase the popularity of ice hockey in California and spread throughout the United States.
Fast forward to today, the Los Angeles Kings again have conquered the hockey world for the second time in three seasons. I personally cannot say I’m shocked about this happening when the construction of this current Kings roster started in 2011, I had a sense that hockey fans would witness something extremely special out of this group for years to come.
In 2012, these LA Kings cruised to a record of 16-4 In the playoffs becoming the first eighth-seeded team to hoist the Stanley Cup. For whatever reason, I had a sense that his team had the ability to do exactly what they have done earning multiple championships. If they could keep the core group together. This year was their year.
The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy in professional sports to win. The 2014 Los Angeles Kings to show how special a group they possess from the top on down, winning the Stanley Cup in the hardest fashion in hockey history.
Before their match-up with the Rangers, the Kings became the first team in NHL history to win three straight game sevens on the road to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
In round one, they faced an 0-3 against the San Jose Sharks etching their names in the history books with the fabulous comeback. Only the fourth team to do so. Rounds two and three, featured two more Game 7 victories over their rivals, the Anaheim Ducks, and then the team that I thought would give the Los Angeles Kings the biggest test, the Chicago Blackhawks, last year’s Stanley Cup Champions.
You have to be lucky to be good and good to be lucky. In the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers, the Los Angeles Kings capitalized on every break they did not receive In the early playoff rounds. Jumping to a 3-0 series lead never really looking back. Despite phenomenal goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. I never felt the Los Angeles Kings were going to loose. Simply put, this team is built to win championships and I would not be surprised to see more added in the years to come.
I would guess, the popularity of hockey in California is at an all-time high and rightfully so. From top to bottom the Los Angeles Kings organization is the most versatile, resilient, confident hockey team on earth. Very deserving of another Stanley Cup championship! Congratulations.