Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings on winning the Stanley Cup! They were the #8 seed in the west, meaning they were the LAST team to get in. As a Hurricanes’ fan, I know what it’s like to flirt with that #8 seed. Unfortunately, the Canes have had some bad luck recently.
The playoffs are always fun and always have a story with them. I believe this year’s story was the true team game played by the Kings throughout the playoffs. You could tell in the first round that they would win the cup. They played the game for their teammates and not for their own accomplishments.
Defensively, any time there was a battle in the boards, the Kings worked together to get possession of the puck. When the opponent dumped the puck into the offensive zone, the Kings’ breakout was so fast the opponent could barely get across the blue line before they had to defend. The announcers were even talking about it in the Final against New Jersey.
Jonathan Quick was great in goal, but the defense helped him do his job as well. As a goalie, I need 2 things from my team to make me look good. First, I have to see the shot to stop the shot. The Kings’ defense did a great job of clearing traffic in front of Quick throughout the playoffs. Second, if I cannot control the rebound, my teammates have to clear the zone. It was very rare over the entire playoffs to see Jonathan Quick face many rebound chances. The defense had a rhythm to its play…shot, save, rebound, possession, pass to open area, attack…they were a well-oiled machine!
Of course, even with a great defense, you still need scoring to win. The Kings did that as well, but they did it the right way. I remember Justin Williams getting a goal one night because he’s a former Cane and I wanted him to succeed, but I can honestly say I don’t know who scored goals for most games because the Kings passed so well. I was more excited to watch the replays because the passing was so pretty that I rarely heard the announcer say who scored. Yes, the Kings have star players and they did their jobs, but it didn’t matter who scored the goals and got the credit. They all had one goal, to WIN!
I think we can learn from the Kings whether it be on our own hockey team or in our careers. It doesn’t matter who scores the most goals, gets the big client, or invents the new product. All that matters is that the combined success of individuals leads to the overall success of a group. We shouldn’t step on people to get to the top; we should all rise up together.
The Stanley Cup is a trophy with each player’s name etched on it. By taking their team to the top, those players’ names will always be remembered. Does anyone know who led the NHL in goals this year? I looked it up and it was Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning with 60 goals. A great season by any standard, but he was playing golf when the Kings were raising the Cup. I’ve never met Stamkos, but I can pretty much guarantee that he would have traded every single goal this year to have his name on the Stanley Cup. As Dot Richardson said, “Individual glory is insignificant when compared to achieving as a team.”