The Philadelphia Flyers were two wins away from the Stanley Cup with Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne in 2010. Yet Flyers fans like myself have had to see Richards, Carter and Gagne get even closer with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012. In fact, the Kings and their ex-Flyers had been on the verge of eliminating the New Jersey Devils - two rounds after they eliminated Philadelphia - for about a week, but the Stanley Cup Finals still weren't over yet.
The Kings finally got tired of waiting in Game 6 at Los Angeles on June 11. Naturally, Los Angeles's Stanley Cup drought ended with some final help from those who failed to end Philadelphia's drought. While the Flyers are still 37 years removed from their last Cup, the Kings' 45 year wait ended rather decisively with a final 6-1 victory over the Devils.
Pretty much all the damage was done during a five-minute power play in the first period, after Steve Bernier got ejected for boarding Rob Scuderi. Moments later, captain Dustin Brown finally broke through with his first goal of the finals, with one of the assists coming from Richards. Under two minutes later, Brown was credited for a second goal, yet it was later credited to Carter - with Richards getting another assist.
Neither Richards, Carter nor Gagne contributed to the third goal in the power play, however. Nevertheless, Trevor Lewis's strike with seconds to spare capped off the power play that gave the Kings the Stanley Cup. Although there were still 45 minutes left after that man advantage, there was no more doubt left in Game 6 or the series. And when Carter got his second goal to start the second period, the countdown was officially on.
Richards, Carter and Gagne left Philadelphia with a lot of unfinished business, after they were the latest Flyers stars to come up short of the Cup. Since they came so close in 2010, it was especially painful - yet despite coming so close, Philadelphia determined that it couldn't get two wins closer with them.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, they came up 11 wins short this postseason instead, while their exes got those two extra wins somewhere else - and in one of the more unlikely places imaginable. Going to Los Angeles was supposed to end Richards and Gagne's Stanley Cup hopes, while Carter had to start the year in lowly Columbus. But almost 12 months after they left Philadelphia, their names will be engraved on the Cup after all - along with the city of Los Angeles.
How could three players who never led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup suddenly play a supporting role in the Kings getting it first? And how could a formerly struggling franchise like Los Angeles come from nowhere to finally win it all while Philadelphia remains stuck in a nearly four-decade purgatory?
The Flyers will have a whole offseason to be haunted by those questions - all while their exes party with the Stanley Cup in the meantime.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident and a Flyers fan since the age of eight.
Other stories from this contributor
- Ice Hockey
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Kings
- Mike Richards
- Simon Gagne
- the Kings
- Stanley Cup