The hockey world loves a good story.
For evidence, one need look no further than Justin Williams, Mr. Conn Smythe himself, who took home the award not so much because he was truly the Kings' most valuable player in these NHL playoffs -- I think we can all agree LA would have suffered much, much more if someone had removed Drew Doughty or leading scorer Anze Kopitar from the lineup -- but because he was the most noticeable player.
Williams was at the center of every big moment, the man who somehow happened along whenever we, like Bonnie Tyler, needed a hero. Thus, larger than life and fresh from the fight, Justin Williams took home the Conn Smythe.
And now, fresh off giving a good story a good ending, the hockey world is looking to up the stakes of this year's story even more, and even more preposterously, by granting "dynasty" status to these Kings.
I can see the desire for it. It's just been so long, and a media has needs, you guys.
Hockey's desperate for a dynasty. So desperate we're throwing it around now, when the Kings have won two Stanley Cups. Non-consecutively, at that. That's like saying the Grover Cleveland administration was presidential dynasty.
Even if you decide to get cute and claim the Kings have won "back-to-back full season Stanley Cups", as some of the clever kids in LA are saying, let's be clear here: to call the Kings a dynasty is to take a sledgehammer to hockey history, to obliterate the honour of true dynasty status.
The 1970s Montreal Canadiens? That's a flippin' dynasty right there. Four in a row, and six in the decade.
Meanwhile, the Kings have won two. Two does not a dynasty make. A lot of teams have won two Stanley Cups. The last team to do it was the Detroit Red Wings of the late 90s. And they weren't a dynasty, either.
Here's where I imagine the arguments will really start, Red Wing nation being a passionate bunch. But listen: they only won two Cups in the decade, same as the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were very good, and very good for a very long time, but they weren't a dynasty. That takes something more than a two-Cup run.
At least three. Four to feel good about it. Defend the trophy next year, Los Angeles, and we can talk about a dynasty. We can debate it. Lord knows this team has it in them, especially with the way they keep churning out prospects. But they're not there yet.
And I don't want to hear this era-adjustment nonsense. I get that it's harder to win the Cups, plural, with the parity of the modern NHL. I do not care. It should be hard to achieve dynasty status. Really, really hard. It should be rare.
I'm not picking on the Kings. I'm picking on you, the hockey fan, who keeps throwing the term around, blissfully sapping it of all its meaning. We've flattened the word out so much that we're applying it to a team that few picked to win the Cup at the start of the postseason. A dynasty doesn't sneak up on you. It reigns over you. It looms. When the playoffs begin, the question shouldn't be, "Can they surprise us again?" It should be, "Can anyone beat that juggernaut?"
Two Stanley Cup rings is nothing to scoff at. That's one for each ear. But the LA Kings a dynasty? These LA Kings, right now? That's still worth a scoff.
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