The San Jose Sharks were one win away from eliminating the Los Angeles Kings in their opening round Western Conference playoffs series.
Before the series, the Kings were a 10-to-1 pick to win the Cup. Down 3-2 to the Sharks, those odds jumped to 28-to-1. Which is when Kings fan Ryan Totka decided to lay $500 on them to eventually capture the championship. SPOILER WARNING: It paid off.
— Ryan Totka (@RyanTotka) June 18, 2014
Totka went to Vegas this week to collect his $14,500 in winnings for the wager.
Why make the bet when only three other teams in NHL history rallied from an 0-3 deficit?
“I was going to Kings games all season and knew they were gonna heat up in the playoffs,” said Totka, who grew up a Devils fan in Edison, NJ, but lives in LA now.
“Had one of those feelings that [goalie Jonathan] Quick would play lights out and with adding [Marian] Gaborik it gave them another big scorer. But it was their role players that really stepped up.”
And then Totka stepped up to the teller and collected his winnings a few weeks later.
We’re not sharing this with you because Totka broke the bank – hey, $14K is nothing to sneeze at, but we’re sure someone in LA probably won six figures on their Cup run.
We’re sharing this because it’s the perfect example of that wide-eyed moment of delusional clarity that hockey fans experience, when you just know your team is about to make miracles happen.
The delusion wasn’t rallying to beat the Sharks, as inexplicable playoff failure is as synonymous with San Jose as Dionne Warwick. The delusion was that the Kings would accomplish that, and then beat the Ducks, and then probably the Blackhawks and then whoever came out of the East. The delusion was that they’d make history against San Jose, shrug, and say, “Well, who can stop us now?”
Which is, in many ways, exactly what the Kings ended up doing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And like Totka, they won big in the end.