On Tuesday, May 22, the Los Angeles Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 in sudden-death overtime to clinch their second Western Conference title. The team will now move on to play either the New York Rangers or the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Here are three thoughts on the game:
A lot of Coyotes' players were upset" instead about Dustin Brown's hit on Michal Rozsival just after the officials whistled for offsides. Brown's shoulder and elbow collided with Rozsival's chest, but that doesn't seem to be what most people are upset about. There was plenty of debate just after the incident about Brown leading with his knee to take out Rozsival's knee. That's not what happened. If anything, Brown led with his elbow.
I know some people believe that Brown could have modified or avoided the hit, but he didn't have enough time to avoid Rozsival after the whistle. It's also important to note that the Kings' captain did not leave his feet, nor did he hit Rozsival with as much force as he could have. I don't think much would have been said about the incident if it hadn't occurred right before the game-winning goal.
Respect to the Coyotes
There are few teams in the NHL that play with as much grit and determination as the Phoenix Coyotes do in every game. They deserve all the credit in the world for winning the Pacific Division and making a run to Western Conference Finals. I look forward to seeing the Coyotes and Kings go at it for years to come.
Western Conference Champions
It was a tough year to be a fan of the Kings. It was hard to watch this team struggle offensively for most of the season, especially when I knew they were capable of so much more. There were even moments where I almost gave up on this team out of frustration. Now I can simply enjoy the ride. The Kings are on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in their history. I don't know if they'll win it all, but I like their odds; they did just knock out the top three seeds in the Western Conference after all.
Derek Ciapala has been a Kings fan since the late 1980s. His favorite Kings moment is when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games to qualify for the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.