Joy. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
If you're looking for thoughtful analysis on how the 2012 Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup, I'm sure someone else will be along with that momentarily. That's not what this is about. This is about the Kings winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. This is my emotional reaction to something part of me legitimately believed I may never get to see.
This is for the players, first and foremost. Guys like Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown who we all got to watch grow up together. Guys like Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick who came along a little later and helped get this team back into the playoffs. The veterans: Mitchell, Scuds, Stoll, Greene, and too many others to list, who made this team legitimate again. The Philly West crew: Williams, Richards, Gagne, and finally Carter who brought an already great team to another level. Rookies like Voynov, Nolan, and King who injected some excitement into a lineup that desperately needed it. You guys did what no other Kings team could do in 43 seasons before you, and no matter what else happens in the future, you'll always be the first. Congratulations guys and thank you so much.
This is for Darryl Sutter, the crazy, mumbly farmboy from Alberta who turned this team on its ass. This is for Dean Lombardi, the man with the plan who did it the right way (and for Dave Taylor, the guy who drafted Kopitar & Quick among others). This is for Luc Robitaille, who will finally get the ring he always wanted: one that says "LA". This is for all the scouts and front-office staff who helped put this team together.
This is for the fans, all of you. Every single one. Whether you've been a fan of this team for 43 years or 43 minutes, you can celebrate this win. Of course, the longer you've been a fan the sweeter it probably is for you, and that in the end is the true reward of fandom. All your years of suffering are paid back tonight, with a whole lot of interest. I've never had more fun as a fan of anything than watching this Kings run with all of you- our amazing webmaster, my fellow bloggers, all the great commenters we have on our blog, all the amazing and funny Kings fans I've connected with on Twitter. You guys are all fantastic, funny, and wonderful people, and I'm proud to be part of any fanbase that has you in it.
This is for Bob Miller and Jim Fox, the greatest announce team in all of hockey. Miller, almost like the grandfather I no longer have, and Fox, a man who looks like he has so much fun every single time he's on the air. I love these guys, and I'm so happy they're finally going to have a ring. I might cry even harder listening to their call than I did live.
And finally, this is for all the fans of the Los Angeles Kings over their four-decades-plus existence who are unfortunately no longer with us today. I'm not the first person to ask when it comes to theology, but I'd really like to think that all of you are out there, somewhere, watching what unfolded tonight and smiling.
I love this team, and I love all of you. Congratulations again, Los Angeles Kings, 2011-12 Stanley Cup Champions.