(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized, er, TRIBUTED by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers who hated them the most. Here is San Jose Sharks blogger Fear The Fin fondly recalling the 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings. Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don't take it so seriously.)
Friends, colleagues, esteemed Puck Daddy comentariat, we are gathered here today to mourn the death of a Los Angeles Kings team that left us far too soon following their unceremonious sweep out of the first round by the vastly superior San Jose Sha...
…Wait, never mind. Let's try that again.
We're gathered here today to mourn the death of a Kings team that once looked unbeatable before promptly losing four straight to Anah...
… Scratch that. One more time.
We're gathered here today to mourn the death of a Kings team that choked harder than any other California-based club in these playoffs by blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Blac...
… Ugh. I give up.
It wasn't supposed to end like this. The post you're reading right now should have gone up anywhere from two weeks to a month and a half ago, skewering the Kings for blowing a golden opportunity to prove their 2012 championship wasn't a complete fluke built on defeating clearly made-up teams like the "Phoenix Coyotes" and "New Jersey Devils."
But like the German army launching an offensive through the Ardennes when they looked all but finished (I think we can all agree that Dustin Brown is literally Hitler), the Kings simply refused to die. While that's great news for Wil Wheaton, Bill Simmons' eight-year-old daughter and the Kings' six other fans, it's terrible news for me as I try to squeeze some humor out of this playoff run at the Kings' expense.
Because, really, there's nothing I can say at this point that will erase the smug, feces-eating grin off the collective face of Kings faithful (or the people of Los Angeles in general but, in fairness, they always look like that).
So instead I'll offer my hearty and sincere congratulations.
Congratulations to Dustin Brown and Robyn Regehr for being far and away the crappiest one-two punch of players to lift the Stanley Cup in NHL history. In one corner, you have a defenseman so utterly useless and immobile that even Darryl Sutter, noted connoisseur of meatwagon hockey, refused to play him in the Final. In the other, you have David Clarkson with superior diving ability; an embarrassment of a captain fresh off a 27-point regular season with an eight-year, $47 million contract extension in tow that the Kings will in no way come to perilously regret.
Having contributed nothing to the Kings' playoff run outside of a lucky overtime deflection despite spending nearly the entire postseason riding shotgun with Kopitar and Gaborik, Brown had one final, incredibly easy job that seemed impossible to screw up...and he completely botched it. Instead of handing the Cup to first-time winner and leading playoff goal scorer Marian Gaborik, MVP Justin Williams or even heartwarming comeback story Willie Mitchell, he went with the team's plodding seventh defenseman who gets walked around more often than a passed-out homeless man.
Great pick, Dustin. It really doesn't matter how many Cups this Kings core wins because they'll forever be represented by a guy whose career summed up in a GIF looks like this:
Congratulations to Anze Kopitar, everyone's favorite Slovenian war criminal, for becoming the second player in league history (after David Krejci) to lead the playoffs in scoring twice without winning a Conn Smythe Trophy, establishing once and for all that European players will forever be second-class citizens in the NHL. Kopitar could have broken Wayne Gretzky's single-postseason points record and he would have still lost the playoff MVP vote to a North American player, just as he'll surely lose the Selke Trophy to good ol' Canadian boy Jonathan Toews next week in Las Vegas. No matter what you accomplish in your already-impressive career, Anze, know that it will never be enough in the eyes of the hockey media to compensate for the fatal flaw of not possessing a Canadian or American passport.
Speaking of players who are grossly misevaluated in part due to their nationality, congratulations to Jonathan Quick for fooling the entire hockey world into thinking he's an elite goaltender. This is a player whose .914 save percentage in the regular season and playoffs combined since Gary Bettman's most recent lockout is substantially worse than what his backups have posted (.930) over the same span. His career numbers are that of an average starting goaltender and yet he's fellated by fans and media alike because the Kings allow so few shots and scoring chances that his goals-against average and win totals, which the simple-minded somehow still turn to for goalie evaluation, usually look okay.
Quick also has a penchant for being well out of position (or, uh, "aggressive" if you prefer) which makes his saves look "athletic" out of necessity while the pucks he fails to stop he "never had a chance on." He's basically Maeby Funke stumbling ass-backwards into a plum movie studio executive job.
To paraphrase an infamous tweet, that's eight years after next year, so nine years in total, of the Kings' goalie being better than yours...unless you happen to be a fan of the Rangers, Bruins, Predators, Canadiens, Panthers, Devils, Stars, Avalanche, Blue Jackets, Maple Leafs, Islanders, Red Wings, Capitals, Sharks or Blackhawks.
Congratulations to Mike Richards for proving every single one of his detractors in Philadelphia who claimed he didn't have the maturity, desire or heart to lead a team to a championship...absolutely, one hundred percent correct. Because with seven goals in a combined 46 games between Los Angeles' two Cup runs, Richards hasn't led the Kings anywhere; he's an interchangeable bit part on this team, underscored by the fact that he dropped like a stone down the Kings' depth chart and spent the majority of the postseason as their fourth-line center. Granted, he's an interchangeable bit part pulling down a hilarious $5.75 million cap hit through 2020.
Good luck in Winnipeg after you sign there following the inevitable buyout, Mike. I hope your beer doesn't freeze while you're attempting a keg stand.
Congratulations to Marian Gaborik for being on the verge of turning his first two-month stretch of decent hockey in two and a half years into a massive, cap-crippling payday from the Kings. Don't worry, Kings fans, I'm sure Gaborik's 18-percent playoff shooting percentage is a good indicator of the kind of offense he'll provide in his 33- to 40-year-old seasons. And it's not like signing a declining, one-dimensional, injury-plagued scoring winger to a massive contract based on a single good playoff performance has any recent track record of being a catastrophic decision.
Gabbo is coming! In the sense that he's going to reach climax while signing a $52 million contract and irreparably damage his groin in the process...
Congratulations to the Columbus Blue Jackets for being an integral part of yet another Kings championship by trading them an elite sniper for a piping hot pile of garbage for the second time in three seasons. The Blue Jackets have somehow deluded themselves into thinking they're the Kings' BFFs when in reality they're the friendless nerd whom the Kings occasionally deign to spend time with in exchange for the Jackets doing all their chemistry homework. They're taking advantage of you, Columbus. I hope you'll consider that before trading Ryan Johansen for Trevor Lewis and a 3rd round draft pick at the 2016 trade deadline.
Congratulations to Kings fans, a fan base that recently turned two years old and fully acts the part as some of the most whiny, insecure idiots you'll ever meet (go ahead, babies, and prove my point by commenting on this article about how Greg is only writing all this mean stuff about the Kings because of what they did to his Devils in 2012). Even the "fans" who aren't just barely-recognizable celebrities desperate to have their face plastered on television while watching a different sport now that the Lakers suck are under the hilariously wrong impression that their team is great "because of Quickie!!1" and their heart and grit and mental fortitude and playoff toughness and blah blah blah, not because the Kings are literally the best puck possession team in the NHL on an annual basis led by one of the three best two-way centers in the league.
Speaking of Kopitar, this is a team whose media and fan base couldn't wait to throw him under the bus a year ago after the Kings' playoff run tragically ended in the Western Conference Final instead of the Stanley Cup Final. Kopitar is their number one center, the third-best player in franchise history and the man who delivered a Cup to Los Angeles when even Wayne Gretzky couldn't and yet it took two seconds for this fan base of ungrateful troglodytes to turn on him because they can't comprehend shooting percentage variance.
These fans don't deserve Kopitar and they certainly don't deserve two Stanley Cups. What they do deserve is their own fittingly godawful theme song:
Congratulations to the New York Rangers for being the weakest Eastern Conference representative in the Stanley Cup Final of the past decade, with the possible exception of the 2012 Devils, a team that missed the playoffs the year prior to their run and the two seasons after. It's almost like the Kings are winning these Cups purely because they only have to play three playoff rounds, continually avoiding Boston and Pittsburgh in the Final more deftly than Drew Doughty avoids any accountability for being a horrific monster off the ice.
Congratulations to the city of Los Angeles, who rioted after Alec Martinez's overtime goal won the Cup for the Kings...but only because they're all racist scumbags who think he should show his papers. I'm just kidding, no one in Los Angeles had any idea there was a hockey game on. They were all too busy clogging up the 5 freeway en route to a soul-sucking reality show audition, their pet energy healing specialist or a $500 pilates class.
The most wretched hive of scum and villainy in the known universe isn't Mos Eisley, it's Los Angeles, a humid hellhole filled to the brim with the most disgusting excuses for human existence on the planet from despicable USC frat bros to yuppie Beverly Hills scum to depressing husks crippled beneath the weight of their own failed dreams. Los Angeles is a grotesque [expletive]stain on the otherwise pristine state of California.
So I guess what I'm saying is that it's fitting their hockey team employs the likes of Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick, Jarret Stoll and Drew Doughty.
In all seriousness, congratulations to the Kings organization for assembling a frightening juggernaut of a team; Kings players for giving up less easily than Rick Astley; and Kings fans who lived through the Bruce McNall bankruptcy filing, the seven-year stretch of the nineties when the team won zero playoff games and the illustrious Marc Crawford era.
For every C-list celebrity attempting to grow their #brand by jumping on the Kings' bandwagon, there are fans who waited up to 44 years for L.A.'s first Stanley Cup so it's nice that their wait the second time around was significantly shorter.
It's almost a shame that this will be the last Cup win they celebrate in their lifetimes but, hey, all the more reason to savor it.