Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown has become the second American — the first since Dallas’ Derian Hatcher in 1999 — to lead his team to the Stanley Cup.
And he got there the hard way.
The New Jersey Devils did a great job of limiting Brown’s offensive contributions through the first five games of the Cup finals. However, when the Kings got a big five-minute power-play in the first period of Game 6, Brown stepped up.
He buried the all-important first goal of the contest and went on to record three points to help L.A. bring home Lord Stanley’s mug for the first time in franchise history.
Brown was outstanding for the Kings throughout the postseason. Even after his mini-drought in the early portion of the finals, Brown ended up with 20 points in 20 playoff games.
That would be impressive for anyone, but it’s particularly remarkable for Brown. He’s an above-average contributor, but he’s not typically a league leader in any offensive statistical category.
Still, he’s a guy that any team would love to have. He’s a top-notch physical presence and a team leader.
After the game, he spoke with NBC’s Pierre McGuire about the historical win and how the Kings were able to regain their composure after losing Games 4 and 5.
“We calmed down after losing two, first time we did it all playoffs,” he explained. “We focused in, played calm and got off to a good start.”
A good start indeed — courtesy the captain.
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.