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Dustin Brown

Lord Stanley Comes Home: The 2012 NHL Champion Los Angeles Kings

After 45 long years, your Los Angeles Kings are champions of the National Hockey League.

Last night’s 6-1 victory was certainly an appropriate coronation for a team that has been playing amazing hockey since March 1st.

Not much explanation is needed to understand how the Kings got here at this point (strong defense + new coach + unbelievable goaltending + Dustin Brown = title), but I would like to take this moment to go over the  numbers the Kings have accrued on this championship run.

BY THE NUMBERS

102 – Games played by the Kings (not including the pre-season)

16 – Amount of wins it takes to be a champion in the NHL playoffs
4 – Total losses for the Kings over the last 2 months of playoff hockey
6 – Total losses for the Kings SINCE MARCH 1st

4 – Amount of series the Kings began with 3-0 leads
1 – Teams in NHL history to beat the #1, 2, and 3 seeds to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals
26 – Age of Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick
3 – Total American born players to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, including Quick
20 – Points scored by Anze Kopitar/ Dustin Brown throughout the playoffs
8 – Goals for Dustin Brown (two of which came in Game 6)
3 – Shutouts for Jonathan Quick
.946 – Save percentage for Quick
45 – Years it took for Los Angeles to bring Lord Stanley home
18 – Games watched on my couch with Little Que-Ese bringing strong juju (16-2 record)
Every time I watch hockey I am reminded why I love it. It is a sport that values the team over the individual in all aspects, as it is the only major sport that has a tradition of TEAMS shaking hands AFTER a series. Every player lines up after spending weeks trying to obliterate each other to say “good game” and give a pat on the back. After the NBA Finals, SuperBowl, or World Series, the first move by each team is not to seek out their competition and congratulate them on a great year. And yet there I am watching Jonathan Quick hug it out with Marty Brodeur after the game.
   
Devils fans can point to the referees as the cause for their demise in Game 6 (with reason, the call on Bernier was circumspect after the no call on Stoll) but I think they were screwed from the drop of the puck. Dustin “Oh Captain My Captain” Brown decided he was going to show up last night, regardless of what game plan the Devils scripted. So much of the Kings success has been spurred by Brown’s leadership. He was all over the ice last night, scoring two goals and leading the charge on defense.
Last night’s coronation was a celebration of the team that drove this improbable run. Jeff Carter, who struggled much of the season to find his stroke, had two goals. Jarret Stoll (an unrestricted free-agent this summer) won face-off after face-off. Rob Scuderi bled all over the ice and refused to miss any time. The boys just weren’t letting the Cup leave Los Angeles again.
Much will be made of this team and the young core that has driven them to the championship. The folks on television seem to think this is a team to be reckoned with for years to come because of their skill and youth and I couldn’t help but agree with the talking heads. However, I believe this team is going to be solid for years to come for a very different reason: they are a TEAM.
Immediately upon being handed the Cup, “Oh Captain My Captain” found the oldest man on the roster, Willie Mitchell. The defenseman, age 35, was not the fastest man on the roster, nor was he a vaunted home grown prospect. Instead, he was the steady hand that helped guide the youngsters to the Promised Land. He was the bearded voice of reason who allowed new arrivals this season to settle into the… Read more...

Watching YOUR…Los Angeles Kings: The Power of JUJU

Since the Kings have begun their playoff run, I have contributed to every single game they have won by providing my unique form of support…my juju.
Juju is what I define as the fan’s ability to impact games. Active fans of every sport can identify with what I am talking about. That feeling that if you just wear the right clothes and follow the correct routine, you can impact the team in a positive way. You can call it superstition, or stupidity, but you know what I call it.
I have been a believer in the power of juju for years. I started out watching Bruins and Lakers games on TV finding that if I sat in a particular spot on the couch, teams were more likely to win. The science behind these beliefs is inexact but based on personal experience; juju is a very real and powerful tool for any professional sports team.
It may be the longing to belong to a team or the desire to put my own energy into a game, but following the tenants of juju closely makes me feel more engaged with the game on TV and tied to any successes or failures. Just as a good fan should.

EMPLOYING THE RECENTLY PERFECTED JUJU FOR THE KINGS PLAYOFF RUN

What I wear: Old school Kings Sweater. I say old school because right after I invested in this jersey (the most expensive piece of sports paraphernalia I own) the Kings decided to switch to their smooth new black and white jerseys. I will also match the jersey with a pair of old basketball shorts (dark blue Nikes to be precise).  
Where I sit: My 55 inch LED flatscreen is surrounded by three couches aligned in a U-formation. I have found that sitting on the far right seat of the middle couch has been incredibly beneficial for the Kings fore-check.

Who is with me: I have been joined by my brother (Little Que-Ese) lying on the white couch to my left for 11 of the 12 Kings victories. He also has his own Juju (particularly how he places the blanket and which blanket he uses) and I respect the intensity he brings to watching the Kings.
Big and Little Que-Ese Starting Their  Unique Juju Stylings Early On
So to run a little experiment on how effective my juju has been during this recent NHL playoff run by the Kings, I went cold turkey. I didn’t follow any of the habits I had developed over the previous 11 wins and hoped the Kings would be good enough to win the Western Conference on their own.
I watched the Los Angeles Kings duke it out in a nail-biter with the Phoenix Coyotes ALONE. Little Que-Ese (LQ-E) has started summer school classes and has wrongfully prioritized mastering organic chemistry over helping carry our Kings to the Stanley Cup.
So I was alone on my couch when the following timeline took place:
1st Period

4:20 –  Taylor Pyatt tips-in the first Coyotes goal. I am not too nervous. I am wearing sweatpants and a white v-neck undershirt. I figure without LQ-E there, my juju will be useless even if I am wearing the appropriate gear.
11:13 – Anze Kopitar scores the equalizer. I am feeling a tad better but after the period I text friend of Mambino, Dangerous Dave “Fuck me, we look like shit.”
The period ends and I am still wearing my same outfit and *gulp* sitting on the white couch that runs the length of the front of my house. That’s right, not only am I missing my partner in juju AND not wearing my Kings gear, I am on the wrong couch. What happens next only confirms how close I came to costing the Kings a victory.
2nd Period
6:23 – Marc-Antione Pouliot scores a backhanded goal with an assist from “that punk Klesla” (TM pending). Kings look more aggressive to start the period but the Yotes are really bringing pressure in the neutral zone.

LA Kings Bandwagon Fan Crash Course Educator

As the Lakers unceremoniously went down 3-1 in their eventual loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, I quickly realized that like a lover scorned by a hateful broad, I’d have to find a new steed to hitch my wagons to for a sweet sweet rebound.

Enter YOUR…Los Angeles Kings.

I’m sure I’m not the only one. Los Angeles, like Boston, Philly or Miami, is a frontrunners town. Whichever of our teams that is in the driver’s seat, that’s the one we’ll readily and happily attach our interest to, regardless of whether we’ve watched a game this season, know the best player’s name or hell, even the rules of the sport. This is just how it is. Don’t blame me. I didn’t found the city.

Fellow Lakers fans (and even some of you Clippers refugees that may have found your way over to this glorious stink-free blog), I realize the spot we’re in. You want to keep the adrenaline going by rooting for a team in the playoffs, but yet, you don’t know a damn thing about hockey. Or maybe you know a bit, but you’ve been preoccupied with checking out Kenneth Fareid’s offensive rebound rate and the progress of the Kings wasn’t on the front burner. Look, I get it. That’s why we’re here.

I’ve exchanged a series of e-mails with MAMBINO ace hockey writer Pucklius, asking questions inn order that us bandwagon Kings fans might get a crash course in puck education. Let’s be honest; at the end of this, no one is going to mistake you for a pedigreed NHL fan born in the swamps of Calgary. However, you MIGHT just learn enough to have a passable conversation about possibly the only champions in LA this June. Onward!


For us casual hockey fans, it’s just “pretty damn cool” to see the Los Angeles Kings get so far into the playoffs. But from a hockey-head’s perspective, how unlikely is it that the Kings made it this far?

Well, I think you would definitely call it unlikely for several reasons, most notably that the Kings were the eighth seed and they had to face the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, but an eighth seed doing this well in the playoffs is not entirely unheard of. For one thing, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a long, exhausting and at times random slog. That means you’re going to see upsets and sometimes the curious bounce of the puck in an overtime game will determine who is moving on and who isn’t. In 2006 the Edmonton Oilers were the 14th of 16 teams in the field and they got to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final before losing to Carolina. You also need to take into account who is playing well heading into the postseason. If a team has had a great year and earned a high seed but struggled down the stretch, there’s no guarantee they’re going to play that well when more is on the line. Turning on a switch is difficult.

You also have to account for injuries and matchups. The Kings have gotten lucky with both this season. Vancouver was without Daniel Sedin, which was absolutely debilitating for its offense. That was a team that also, despite winning another Presidents’ Trophy this season, went all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final a year ago. That means the Canucks might have played as many as 20 more games than their opponent in the last calendar year with a far shorter offseason. That kind of exhaustion will have an impact sooner or later. If you look at the Islanders of the early 80s, they won 19 consecutive playoff series, which is patently absurd. They had four Cups in a row, but when they reached the Final in a fifth sea… Read more...

Next Stop To Stanley: Kings vs. Blues Preview

As we noted before, the Kings are who we thought they are. After destroying the dreams of Vancouver’s children, the boys from LA turn their focus to the St. Louis Blues.

If Vancouver was supposed to be the offensive Goliath of the playoffs, providing a serious threat to the Kings, the Blues are the defensive equivalent. Besides the Blues, there was no other team in hockey that played defense as well as the Kings. Both teams are made up of strong defenseman and Goalies who play with supernatural abilities. Many, including Kings Coach Daryl Sutter, are calling for this series to be one of the lowest-scoring series of all time. 

While I think this certainly will be a series with tight play on the defensive-end, I believe goals will come at a greater clip than expected. The Kings found an offensive rhythm in the Canucks series that should carry over even against the large bodies of the Blues.


Many will point to the Kings 3-1 record against the Blues in the regular season as a sign that this will be a cakewalk. However, the wins earlier this season do not count for squat as the Blues were playing without a healthy Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen. These two players provide a huge offensive kick for the Blues and will change the dynamics/matchups for the series. My predictions will follow below but first the Mambino 3 keys to the Kings-Blues series.


1. Goaltending

Jonathan Quick is the best goalie in hockey. Sure the statistics may say otherwise but no keeper has done more with less than Quick. He played out of his mind this year under two different coaches and singlehandedly kept the playoffs hopes alive for the Kings. He is going to meet his match with the duo of keepers from the Blues.



St. Louis has played with the pair of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak minding the nets. Elliott started the season as the backup for the Blues but wound up having a ridiculous, league leading, 1.56 goals against average. Elliott only played 38 games to Quick’s 69 (Quick managed to be second in the league with an equally ridiculous 1.95 GAA and a league leading 10 shutouts), but still proved his worth throughout the regular season. Halak is nursing a “lower-body injury” (see: sprained ankle) and will likely be ready to return by game 3 at the latest. This means the matchup will likely be Quick-Elliott in St. Louis.


The series outcome will undoubtedly be decided by how well Quick plays. If he continues to stop pucks like the 405 stops traffic nobody can beat the Kings. Read that sentence again. The Kings will stand on Quick’s shoulders as far as he can carry them.


2. Oh Captain, My Captain


Dustin Brown is my captain. He proved in the last series that he is the spark the Kings need to get rolling. With a stat line of 4 goals-1 assist-5 points in 5 games, Brown utterly dismantled the Canucks. He is going to be facing a more formidable Defensive group with the offensive Alex Pietrangelo paired alongside Carlo Colaiacovo.

The Blues, unlike the Kings, received a consistent offensive spark from their defense during the regular season. Though the Kings can look to Drew Doughty as their best offensive threat on defense, the Canucks showed how effectively teams can swarm the wily Doughty. It will again fall upon Brown to help keep the fore-check running strong and create gaps, keeping the pressure on the Blues goaltenders. It was certainly surprising to see the two shorthanded goals Brown scored last series but that type of heads up pressure from the Captain is going to be needed to keep the Kings heading deeper into the playoffs.


3. Staples Center Shittiness 


The Kings have playeRead more...