Kings GM Dean Lombardi, left, and coach Darryl Sutter have built a great team in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill, AP)
After shocking the hockey world and becoming the first 8-seed in American sports to win its league’s championship, the Los Angeles Kings seemed to be in a good position to return to the Stanley Cup Finals in a shortened 2013 season. Alas, after moving past St. Louis and San Jose, the Kings were defeated in five games by the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrick Kane’s goal in the second overtime proved to be the dagger for the Kings’ season in Game Five.
In 2013, the Kings continued to provide a blueprint for teams to build towards success. They had top-end talent brought up through their system in Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick. They had great players like Justin Williams, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter acquired through trades. The Kings also had talented young players, like Slava Voynov, Jake Muzzin, and Tyler Toffoli step up and contribute over the course of the season.
The man responsible for putting most, if not all, of that talent together is Dean Lombardi, who has been the Kings’ general manager for seven years now. Lombardi was disappointed with the end result of the season, but still was happy with how his team played in this short season, according to Cam Tucker of Pro Hockey Talk.
“You’re almost frozen. There’s so much going through your head, there’s nothing going through your head. … It’s almost like you don’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone — or whatever that saying is — until you’ve experienced it,” said Kings general manager Dean Lombardi during a conference call Sunday, as per the L.A. Times.
“You can’t condone losing — you never want to do that — but I have to condone their sense of honor.
“They didn’t quit. They fought through and given the history of it, they deserve to be commended for what they did accomplish.”
If I was Lombardi, I wouldn’t worry too much about the Kings’ inability to repeat as NHL champs. No team has done that since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998. The future still remains very bright for the Los Angeles Kings, and they should be in contention for the Stanley Cup again for many seasons to come.
Joe has been writing for the Sports-Kings since July 2012, covering football and hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @jpray_SK.