I know it’s a little late, but I’ve been a busy man. However, I am here to give you a final analysis on the Stanley Cup final. Also, we’ve got a lot to look forward to in the next couple of weeks. I’ll take a look at the NHL Awards and the upcoming draft. We’ve also got free agency coming up on July 1, and I’ll have my second installment of my summer series on who has something to prove next season. Hockey is a year-round sport just as much as the NFL, NBA and MLB.
If you’ve got suggestions for who I need on interesting summer storylines, drop me a line in the comments or tweet me @DanMountSports.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last two weeks, the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup with a thrilling 3-2 double overtime win on a goal by Alec Martinez. Los Angeles won three games in overtime, including two in double-overtime.
People may think that a five-game series was an easy one, but it was far from that with the three overtime contests. The Rangers grab leads in all, but one of the games, but the Kings fought back to win. Los Angeles showed a fighting spirit in all of their series.
The Kings were left for dead on several occasions. They were down 0-3 to San Jose in round one, down 2-3 against local rival Anaheim in the second round and withstood a furious rally from the 2013 Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Los Angeles didn’t get the 2012 Cup-winning form of Jonathan Quick, but he didn’t need to be great. The Kings got offense from all sources like Conn Smythe winner Justin Williams, the shrewdly acquired Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar.
LA is also loaded with a plethora of young depth with plaers like Kopitar (26), captain Dustin Brown (29), Jeff Carter (29), Dwight King (24), Slava Voynov (24), Trevor Lewis (27), Jordan Nolan (24), Tanner Pearson (21) Tyler Toffoli (22), Martinez (26) and Jake Muzzin (25). This team is young and poised for a long run of being contenders.
Let’s also give credit to the New York Rangers. Not many people had them making the final. They had to get through a tough game seven in round one and rally from down 1-3 to beat MVP Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in round two. New York got to the Cup after being a plucky Montreal Canadiens squad despite losing all-world goalie Carey Price.
The Rangers had several chances to steal games in the series thanks to Henrik Lundqvist and young players like Ryan McDonagh and old hands like the inspirational Martin St. Louis. There’s some work to do in the offseason, but they could be in the thick of the Eastern Conference title race next season.
However, this is the Kings’ moment, and could be hoisting the cup at the same time next year.
Sidney Crosby may not have had the best postseason, but he cleaned up Tuesday night at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas. Sid the Kid grabbed Hart (MVP), Ted Lindsay (NHLPA MVP) and Art Ross (leading point-getter) trophies.
Other award winners were Boston’s Tuukka Rask (Vezina- best goalie) and Patrice Bergeron (Selke- best defensive forward), Chicago’s Duncan Keith (Norris- best defenseman), Colorado’s Patrick Roy (Adams- top coach), Nathan MacKinnon (Calder- top rookie) and Ryan O’Reilly (Lady Byng- gentlemanly play). The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin picked up the Rocket Richard Trophy for top scorer and LA’s Jonathan Quick earned the Jennings Trophy for lowest GAA.
The Rangers’ Dominic Moore won the Bill Masterton Trophy for sportsmanship and perseverance.
It’s a week of drafts as the NHL Draft from Philadelphia takes center stage after the NBA’s draft in New York City wraps up. The Florida Panthers hold the top pick, but the Toronto Maple Leafs have made overtures on trading up to grab the top selection.
Sam Bennett, Leon Draisaitl, Aaron Ekblad, Michael Dal Colle and Sam Reinhart are four of the top prospects that could make an impact. The NHL Draft is a little harder to gauge than the NFL and NBA drafts, but I’ll have a grade on things for you next week.
That’s it for this week. It’s great to be back and I’ll have more for you.
Dan Mount is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com. He also covers the Rangers, Devils and Islanders for NYSportScene.com. He is based out of Watertown.