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News: Los Angeles Kings Win Stanley Cup, NHL Championship

Jun 13, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; after defeating the New York Rangers game five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 13, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; after defeating the New York Rangers game five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The longest postseason for the Los Angeles Kings led into the longest game they had ever played. After 94 minutes of impossibly tense hockey, Alec Martinez could scarcely believe it when a rebound off Henrik Lundqvist’s pads came straight to his stick.

“After it went in, I think I blacked out,” Martinez said. “I’m just so happy for these guys.”

From their first elimination game seven weeks ago to Martinez’s championship-winning goal, these Kings were resilient, relentless and remarkable.

And now they have the Stanley Cup. Again.


Martinez scored 14:43 into the second overtime, and the Kings won the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 5 on Friday night.

Marian Gaborik scored a tying power-play goal in the third period for the Kings, who rallied from yet another deficit before finishing off the Rangers in the finals’ third overtime game at Staples Center.

Jonathan Quick made 28 saves and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams scored an early goal as Los Angeles added a second title to its 2012 championship, the first in the franchise’s 47-year history.

Long an NHL afterthought in their warm-weather city, the Kings have turned into a burgeoning dynasty — and they’ve turned Hollywood into a hockey town with two titles, capped by this glamorous finish.

“We have a team that simply will not be denied,” said Williams, a three-time Cup champion after scoring 25 points. “Every Cup is special. What we went through in 2012 (versus) what we went through this year, huge difference, and we really earned it.”

After innumerable chances for both teams in two nail-biting extra periods, Martinez started the final rush with a pass to Kyle Clifford, who dropped it to Tyler Toffoli for a shot. The rebound went straight to Martinez, and the depth defenseman buried it for his fifth goal of the postseason.

Martinez is becoming a late-game playoff legend after also scoring in overtime in Game 7 against Chicago in the Western Conference finals, but the Kings all see themselves as part of something bigger.

“I don’t know if we’re part of (a dynasty) yet, but hopefully we’re on our way to that,” defenseman Drew Doughty said. “I believe this group could be at that point, but it’s going to take a lot of work.”

The Kings rocketed off the bench and gathered for a huge group hug near the Rangers’ net before the handshake line and the Stanley Cup ceremony featuring captain Dustin Brown’s second chance to take the 35-pound silver trophy from Commissioner Gary Bettman.

While his players went crazy, coach Darryl Sutter nonchalantly walked onto the ice with almost no celebration of his second title. He wore a broad grin when he raised the Cup above his head several minutes later.

Brown swiftly handed the Cup to Robyn Regehr, the veteran defenseman and first-time NHL champion who never got back in the Kings’ lineup after his May 3 knee injury. Regehr handed it to Gaborik, the goal-scoring dynamo and late-season acquisition who led the playoffs with 14 goals to win the first title of his 13-season NHL career.

The trophy soon went to Doughty and Jeff Carter, who became the seventh and eighth players to win an Olympic gold medal and the Stanley Cup in the same year. Leading scorer Anze Kopitarraised it for the second time, and Quick gave a triumphant shout after his turn.

Chris Kreider scored a power-play goal and Brian Boyle added a tiebreaking short-handed goal late in the second period for the Rangers, who showed no nerves while facing elimination for the sixth time this spring.

Both teams had tantalizing chances in overtime, from shots off posts by Ryan McDonagh and Toffoli to Kreider’s failed breakaway late in the first OT. Rick Nash had an open net in the second OT, but Slava Voynov deflected the shot just high with the shaft of his stick.

Lundqvist stopped 48 shots in another standout performance for the Eastern Conference champions, but the Rangers repeatedly came up one goal short against the Kings despite their goalie’s brilliance.

“You go into this hoping that you don’t regret anything,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We put it out there. We gave our best shot, best effort. Three games here all went to OT. What can I say?”

Los Angeles’ 2012 title run was defined by that raw, eighth-seeded team’s improbable dominance, but the second crown was all about resilience for the third-place team in the Pacific Division.

After fighting through three straight seven-game series to emerge from the tough Western Conference, the Kings won the first three games of the finals, starting with consecutive OT wins on goals by Williams and Brown.

Game 5 was the Kings’ 26th playoff game of the spring, matching the NHL record for the longest postseason run. Los Angeles has played 64 playoff games over the last three years, setting another league record.

“This time around, we didn’t have time to think about `My God, we’ve been playing elimination games so many times,” defenseman Willie Mitchell said. “I guess that’s probably the difference, that we were on the brink so many times playing really good teams. So that’s pretty cool.”

The Kings raised the Stanley Cup just over seven weeks after they faced a 3-0 first-round series deficit against San Jose. Los Angeles confidently won four straight elimination games to become the fourth team in NHL history to rally from that deficit, and then won two more elimination games in a second-round series against Anaheim.

The defending champion Blackhawks forced Los Angeles to a seventh game in Chicago, but Martinez’s deflected overtime goal sent the Kings into the franchise’s third Stanley Cup finals.

After three straight wins, New York staved off elimination with a 2-1 victory in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.

Staples Center was packed well before the opening faceoff with fans eager for another celebration, rocking the arena with chants of “Go Kings Go!” while both teams were still in their dressing rooms.

Los Angeles started out with yet another big-game score from Williams. He got his ninth goal of the postseason on a loose puck after linemates Dwight King and Jarret Stoll applied pressure on Lundqvist.

The Rangers finally equalized when McDonagh found Kreider in front. Boyle then got a stunner after Carl Hagelin got the puck away from Voynov, skating around Doughty and wiring a pinpoint shot into the far top corner.

But the Kings showed the same determination that has characterized their entire spring run, and they finally equalized with Mats Zuccarello in the box.

Doughty’s long shot hit Lundqvist in the chest and dropped in front of him before Gaborik alertly poked it between his legs for the Slovak star’s latest goal in a spectacular postseason with his new club.

That’s when the nail-biting hockey started — and roughly 46 minutes later, Martinez drove in the final nail.

Game notes
The Kings are the only team in the last seven seasons to win the Cup at home, and they’ve done it twice. … Both teams kept the same lineups from Game 4. Sutter never put Regehr back in the lineup, unwilling to break up a successful lineup. … The Kings never led in their two overtime victories at home earlier in the series. … The 1987 Philadelphia Flyers and the 2004 Calgary Flames also played 26 postseason games, but neither won the Cup.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

Rangers Hold Off Kings, Force Game 5

Jun 11, 2014; New York, NY, USA; during the third period in game four of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 11, 2014; New York, NY, USA; during the third period in game four of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — The champagne the Los Angeles Kings had ready for a coronation stayed in boxes. The New York Rangers suddenly have some life in the Stanley Cup finals.

Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves and had the Madison Square Garden crowd chanting his name in the Rangers’ 2-1 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday night that kept the Kings from a sweep.

Benoit Pouliot and Martin St. Louis each scored for the Rangers. Los Angeles leads the series 3-1 and will get its second shot to claim the Cup for the second time in three years Friday night at home.

“We wanted to close it out tonight and we weren’t able to do it,” Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. “Now we have a desperate team coming into our building.”

Los Angeles hoped to become the first team since 1998 to complete a sweep in the finals. The Rangers will try to be the second team to erase a 3-0 hole in the finals and go on to win the Cup.

The Kings had that kind of comeback in the first round against San Jose.

“It’s not impossible,” Lundqvist said.

Twice Los Angeles put the puck on the goal line but couldn’t get it all the way across. The last came with 1:11 left when Rangers forward Derek Stepanpushed the puck out of danger in the crease after it got behind Lundqvist.

“I was just holding my breath,” Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. “All those guys in the crease did a great job to keep it out.”

Pouliot scored 7:25 into the first period, and St. Louis added a goal in the second. New York squandered multiple two-goal advantages in losing the first two games in overtime in Los Angeles.

Not this time.

Lundqvist and the Rangers continued their mastery of extending their seasons. New York is 11-2 in the past 13 games when facing elimination, and Lundqvist was in goal for all of them.

“When everything is on the line, you just have to challenge yourself the right way,” Lundqvist said. “You have to be focused. One mistake and the season is over. You’re definitely aware of that.”

The Rangers also have won an NHL-record eight consecutive home games when facing elimination, dating to 2008, behind Lundqvist.

“We got our first one,” St. Louis said, “and I’m sure that’s going to help our mood.”

The Kings were quick to the puck all night and pressed for the tying goal in the third. They outshot the Rangers 15-1 in the frame and 41-19 overall.

“I think we sat back a little too much in the third period, but we didn’t blow the lead this time,” Stepan said.

Two nights after Jonathan Quick stopped 32 shots in a 3-0 victory that put the Kings on the brink of another championship, Pouliot got a puck past him.

St. Louis then put in a rebound at the left post 6:27 into the second, giving the Rangers their fifth two-goal lead of the series. But just like in Games 1 and 2, a two-goal deficit sparked the Kings.

At the tail end of a Rangers power play, Girardi broke his stick and lost the puck to Kings captain Dustin Brown for a breakaway.

Brown made several moves in front of Lundqvist before tucking a forehand inside the right post to make it 2-1 with 11:13 left in the second.

The Kings had a chance to get even, but the Rangers killed Dominic Moore‘s cross-checking penalty late in the period. Jeff Carter then got behind Girardi before being stopped on a breakaway by Lundqvist.

Pouliot broke Quick’s shutout streak at 123 minutes, 1 second. New York hadn’t scored since Derick Brassard‘s second-period goal in Game 2. Pouliot’s fifth goal of the playoffs came 2 seconds after Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell finished serving a high-sticking penalty.

John Moore fired a drive from the center of the blue line that Pouliot deflected high with his stick blade into the top right corner behind Quick.

The Kings almost tied it at 1-all with 8:11 left in the first period — seconds into a power play — when defenseman Alec Martinez‘s shot got behind Lundqvist and slid along the red goal line without crossing it. Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman cleared the puck as Carter and Marian Gaborik pressured in the crease.

Video replay clearly showed the puck didn’t go over the line.

The Garden had a different feel than the optimistic atmosphere of Game 3 when the Rangers returned home. There were no T-shirts draped over the seats, and some of the seats in prime-viewing areas were empty. But as the Rangers started to score, the crowd slowly came alive, roaring in approval.

Game notes

Four NHL teams have overcome a 3-0 hole to win a series. … Kings RW Justin Williams had a six-game assist streak snapped. … This was the 92nd game played in this year’s postseason, tying an NHL record that will be broken with Game 5. … The Kings have led for only 40:01 in the series. … Rangers forward Daniel Carcillo was eligible to return following a six-game suspension but was scratched.

Will Kings make changes before Sochi ?

The Kings have been struggling as of late, with their (2-8-0) record in their last 10 games which leaves a lot of speculation. Will the Kings pick up a goal scorer or  defenceman before fridays 3pm EST roster freeze ? Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers has been on GM/President of the Kings Dean Lombardi’s radar. If the trade was reality the Kings would have to make some moves to open up room for Gagner in their heavy salary cap. The Kings need a left winger and Gagner a C, RW might not be a fit in LA.  P.A. Parenteau, Nail Yakupov, Chris Stewart are among some of the other top ranking forwards on the market. The Kings have also been looking to add another top 4 defenceman. PK Subban, Dustin Byfuglien, Nikolai Kulemin , are some top ranking defenceman that can log heavy minutes and their respective teams have been rumored to make moves for them. So will the Kings make some changes to get them back in contention for the Stanley Cup ?

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News: Kings And Ducks Unveil Jerseys For Series Game At Dodger Stadium

The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks unveiled jerseys Tuesday for their Stadium Series matchup that will take place Jan. 27 at Dodger Stadium, featuring a silver-and-black look for the Kings and an orange-dominant one for the Ducks.

Here’s the video with the official announcement of the new threads:

Certainly the Ducks are looking to make an impact with their jersey statement while the Kings take on a bit more of a traditional look.

Rest assured the rivalry will be in full effect at Dodger Stadium.

News: Los Angeles Kings Activate Kyle Clifford, Place Trevor Lewis On IR

112313-CliffordLos Angeles Kings president/general manager Dean Lombardi announced that the team has activated forward Kyle Clifford from the injured reserve list Saturday and placed forward Trevor Lewis on the injured list, retroactive to Nov. 21.

Clifford missed the last six games with an upper-body injury, and has played in 16 games this season, scoring a goal.

Lewis was placed on the IR because of a lower-body injury. He has no points in 23 games.

In other news, forward Jeff Carter is inching closer to a return, skating a full practice Friday, and is now day-to-day rather than week-to-week according to coach Darryl Sutter.

 

Kings News: Goalie Jonathan Quick Out For At Least One Month

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick will be out at least another month according to John Shannon on Twitter via Kings’ president and GM Dean Lombardi.

112013-QuickIn his absence, backup goalie Ben Scrivens has stepped it up, shutting out the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers before allowing two goals to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tuesday’s 5-2 victory.

He is 5-1-1 in his first season with the Kings after playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs for two seasons, posting a 1.35 GAA and a .949 save percentage.

Meanwhile Quick was 10-5-0 with a 2.35 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

While Scrivens boasts a GAA of 0.99 in November, he did have one of 1.91 in October. He is 16-15-3 with a 2.58 career GAA and a .916 save percentage.

The Kings will host the New Jersey Devils Thursday night.

News: NHL to Discuss Stiffer Penalties for Goalie Fights After Ray Emery Bout

111113-HoltbyNHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday that the league’s general managers would discuss Tuesday in Toronto the banning of goalie fights during games.

A fight between Ray Emery of the Philadelphia Flyers and Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals turned ugly and sparked the thought of the conversation as Emery skated across the ice to engage with Holtby, who appeared uninterested in the altercation.

But there is nothing in the rulebook that prohibits it from happening.

A rule change is not expected Tuesday. Stiffer penalties are expected to be called for upon goalies seeking a fight.

Kings News: Jarrett Stoll Skates Full Practice

Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter that Los Angeles Kings center Jarrett Stoll skated a full practice Sunday morning.

Jarret StollShe would later clarify that she was driving but that Stoll’s nickname is “Strollsie.”

Stoll, 31, has been fighting an upper-body injury since a Nov. 2 loss against the Nashville Predators.

The Kings are awaiting both his return and also that of winger Jeff Carter, who has been on the injured list since Nov. 1.

Head coach Darryl Sutter has said that he is being careful with the comebacks of both players.

The Kings are about to embark on a four-game road trip beginning Tuesday against the Sabres.

NHL Ahead of NFL in Average Annual Player Salaries

salaries

NHL players made more money than those in the NFL in 2012, which seems insane considering the NFL is the most popular sport in the U.S., but it’s exactly how the numbers break down in Frank Doyle’s number crunching of the top five professional team sports.

Doyle found out which athletes got more bang for their buck by mapping out the average yearly and career salaries in professional team sports and helping us realize things like Kobe Bryant earning almost $38,000 per field goal made.

The average annual player salary through 2012 stacks up like this:
NBA ($5.15 million)
MLB ($3.2 million)
NHL ($2.4 million)
NFL ($1.9 million)
MLS ($0.16 million)

money1

Last week Bryant got a $24 million advance on his $30 million salary, so let those numbers sink in and don’t be surprised that the NBA was tops on the list above.

However the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement last year will probably bring down those numbers as team’s can only spend so much on player’s before having to face a hefty tax, like the Los Angeles Lakers have been doing the last couple years.

No surprise that MLB is toward the top, as teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers are willing to dish out $300 million contracts, like the one that has been reportedly offered to pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

New York Yankees fans might be trying to forget Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year/$275 million contract, but just a reminder, he’s still owed over $80 million the next four years. And the graphic below will show that he made $253,968 in 2012, but for his 38 hits in 2013, he made $736,842 per hit.

The NHL’s popularity in this U.S. doesn’t come close to the NFL, so you have to wonder why the NFL is bumped down below the NHL in the pecking order of player salaries.

If you’re not familiar with the NHL, it is not unusual to see lifetime contracts such as the 14-year/$110 million contract that was given to Nashville Predator Shea Weber last season, or Sidney Crosby’s 12-year/$104.4 million contract from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So if you’re wondering how the NHL could be ahead of the NFL, those lifetime contracts, combined with the short, non-guaranteed contracts the NFL hands out is the probable reason for it.

The MLS has handed out its share of crazy contracts as it has tried to bring more international talent to the U.S. like Thierry Henry ($4.35 million, 2013) and Robbie Keane ($4.33 million, 2013). But their contracts pale in comparison to the highest paid players in the other four leagues.

Below is a breakdown of what the highest paid players in each league had to score to earn their 2012 contracts.

money2

All of you hosers putting your kids in Pop Warner football should trade in those cleats for a pair of skates and help them adapt a Canadian accent, ey.

(Graphics courtesy of Sports interaction)

Kings News: Linden Vey to Make Long Anticipated NHL Debut Against Sabres

Los Angeles Kings v Anaheim DucksLos Angeles Kings center Linden Vey is set to make his long-awaited NHL debut Thursday night at home against the Buffalo Sabres.

In Thursday morning’s skate Vey, 22, was at center alongside Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan. Colin Fraser, a likely healthy scratch, stayed on for extra work.

Vey admitted to the Los Angeles Times that he was quite nervous for the debut.

“I’ve been playing ever since I was 4 years old and looking forward to this. There will be a little nerves the first shift. Once you get into it, you’ll be fine.”

His callup is the result of injuries to forwards Jeff Carter (foot) and Jarrett Stoll (upper-body injury). Stoll did participate in the morning skate though, encouraging news for the Kings.

He was selected in the fourth round with the 96th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Vey was the leading scorer for the WHL while playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers, scoring 46 goals in 69 games.