June 12, 2012
Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings, 2012 Stanley Cup Champs
Often when a team wins the Stanley Cup I find myself looking back at the players who came before but are no longer present for the championship. A stick tap must go out to all the Kings throughout their 45 years who have worked so hard to build hockey in California. Today would not be possible if it were not for the likes of Rogie Vachon, the Triple Crown Line of Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor and Charlie Simmer, Juha Widing, Butch Goring, Daryl Evans, Bob Miller, Nick Nickson, Wayne Gretzky, Rob Blake, Luc Robitaille, even Bruce McNall and Marty McSorley. Nearly 600 men have played for the Los Angeles Kings over the years. They all played a part in a proud hockey history which finally includes a Stanley Cup Championship.
Of course it is the current players and coaches who deserve the spotlight the most. Jonathan Quick was unreal all season long. Mike Richards and Dustin Brown played with so much heart. Drew Doughty is ready to take over as the best defenseman in the game. Anze Kopitar is a treat to watch. Smilin' Willie Mitchell is all class. Dustin Penner came through when he was needed the most. Darryl Sutter pushed all the right buttons. Dean Lombardi stayed the course when few others believed.
As the Los Angeles Kings celebrate their first Stanley Cup championship, I wanted to give a special congratulations to the New Jersey Devils and to their legion of fans for an amazing playoff run and a special season.
In sports there has to be a winner and a loser. The problem was we look at finishing second as a failure. With the passage of time, we begin to realize just what an amazing accomplishment they, too, achieved. It is a travesty that losing team is not get better recognized. But that is the world of professional sports.
So New Jersey fans - hold your head up high and be proud of your team. Today is not an easy day, but one day you will look back at the spring of 2012 with fond memories. You will celebrate, too, one day, even if it does not feel like it today. You should be very proud.