It’s official: the Los Angeles Kings will be in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Chicago Blackhawks – a team they may end up facing in the first round – actually clinched it for them by beating the Calgary Flames 4-1 today. So any fears that the Kings’ media staff jinxed them out of the post-season when they announced their “Back in Black” promotion can be put to rest.
Obviously, a lot has changed within the organization since the 2001-02 season. Only Mathieu Schneider, Ian Laperrierre and Lubomir Visnovsky remain in the NHL with Schneider on the verge of retirement. There isn’t a single player on the Kings from that roster. The general manager and head coach are also different.
This has been a great season for the Kings, highlighted by great play from Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick. Really, the team has a little bit of everything from talented young players to gritty veterans. I wouldn’t say that they’re a strong contender just yet (they’re at least a year away, in my opinion) but they have a deep and promising roster that very well could make some waves in the playoffs.