This one stings to write. Let's be blunt. That's not how the season was scheduled to end. I had another few weeks of cheers stored up, and now, everyone can blame the Kings for the world not hearing my lovely chants until next season.
So after a seven-game series, the Kings move on and Anaheim skates home with their tails between their legs. The Regular Season Western Conference Champs were eliminated in just the second round. Not exactly the fairy tale ending we all had in mind for the sendoff of Teemu Selanne.
The Kings were formidable foes, taking a quick 2-0 series lead, however they showed some weakness and the Ducks exploited that. Still, Anaheim fell short and thus, their season of impressive records has officially been shut down. So who can we salute and tip our hats to, who were the standouts of the series for LA's squad?
I tip my hat to Jonathan Quick. In some games, no one can deny that Quick looked down right unbeatable. The rockstar goaltender has thrown his team onto his back and carried them to a Stanley Cup Championship once, and this round, despite being somewhat inconsistent, he ended up backstopping his team through this round. Kudos, Mr. Quick. You've done it again.
I tip my hat to Daryl Sutter. Even with a few bumps along the road, the coach of the Los Angeles Kings stood by his gameplan. He continued to use Jonathan Quick unless there was an undeniable reason to pull him. He firmly supported the focus on a shutdown defense, over an extravagant or overly productive offense. Sutter gave his team life when they looked on the verge of flatlining, and because of that, I salute him.
I tip my hat to the LA King Defense. We all knew this would be a showdown that essentially felt like an offense vs. defense matchup. The Ducks boasted some of the highest offensive production statistics in the league for the regular season. On the flip side, the Kings shut teams down with a stalwart of defense. With the defenders voiding out Anaheim superstars like Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry, the Ducks floundered and fell short.
I tip my hat the LA fanbase. Even at the Honda Center there was a hoarde of LA King fans chanting their (admittedly enraging) "Go Kings, Go!" I personally attended one game at the Staples Center and was floored by the audacity of the fanbase. There are so many teams who are seriously fueled by their fans, and the Kings looked to be one of them.
I tip my hat to the respect. Not talking about the fans, who were downright rude, but moreso the players. The only reason I am mentioning this is because of their support and respect after the conclusion of game seven. Anaheim had put a Teemu Selanne tribute into full swing and the King players and coaches stayed on the ice after the handshake and showed their appreciation. The players tapped their sticks on the ice, the coaches were applauding, it was a beautiful sight, even for a team I despise this much, I have to appreciate that gesture of respect.
All in all, the Kings unfortunately outplayed the Ducks in several games, including that very disappointing game seven, and that endurance is something that shouldn't be overlooked. Overall, I tip my hat to the Kings organization, and the class that their players showed, especially at the conclusion of the series.