It's a Hell of a time to be a Kings fan, unfortunately. Three straight Conference Finals (hopefully not more than that) have shown that even if they don't give a sh*t about the regular season, the Kings are one of the teams to beat in the West. They might not play the most exciting brand of hockey in the world, but damn if it isn't effective. Not only are their results something to be envious of, they have some really great players as well, here are my favorites.
Justin Williams - He really only gets the credit he deserves when a Game 7 rolls around. He's so skilled and elusive, just really fun to watch, if only he wore a different sweater.
Anze Kopitar - From his first goal in his first game of his NHL career I knew he was something special, and for a couple of years lamented that we skipped over him to pick Bobby Ryan second overall in 2005 (maybe I still am, a little bit). But it's nice to see him finally getting the respect he deserves for being one of the most well rounded players in the league.
Drew Doughty - Before he got drafted, I remember reading a John Buccigross column saying that he would be a perfect pick for the Ducks with the compensation from the Dustin Penner offer sheet. It was a bummer that he went to the Kings at that time, and now that he's easily one of the top five defensemen in the league (if not higher) it really stings. He's just so goddamn good at everything, and the way he does it with that stupid smirk on his face makes it so much more infuriating. But you have to respect it, unfortunately.
Alec Martinez - Really impressed me in this series. Good skater, good with the puck and that F***ING save he made on Corey Perry in Overtime of Game 1?! COME ON!!!
All in all this was a decent series, even though it peaked in Game 1. I don't think it really sparked the intense rivalry that we've been saying it would for the past 20 years. Think about the sheer hatred that you saw in Boston/Montreal. There really wasn't any of that in this series. When Doughty got dumped over the boards by Matt Beleskey he popped up with that same stupid grin on his face. When Perry soaked Jeff Carter's glove with water it was just laughed off. There was nothing really dirty, and every game was too close to risk doing anything dirty, until Game 7 and by that time it was just resigning yourself to the fact that the season was over.
But over the course of the next five years or so, and with the new playoff format, there should be plenty of opportunities to build up a true, on ice rivalry. As long as the Ducks can win a series or two.