First off, a shout-out to Rob Blake. There aren't too many Los Angeles Kings players in the Hall of Fame, and even fewer are primarily associated with the Kings; that list is essentially Marcel Dionne, Luc Robitaille, and arguably Wayne Gretzky. Blake is the Kings' all-time leader in goals (161), assists (333), and points (494) among defensemen, and will presumably hold those records until Drew Doughty (59-162-221) catches him. He's also the only Kings defenseman to win the Norris Trophy. He got to lift the Stanley Cup two weeks ago, and now he's going to be a Hall of Famer.
So that's one King who's getting rewarded this week. The NHL Awards are tonight, so we might just see a few more! Here are the LA attendees tonight, ranked in order of award likelihood:
Jonathan Quick: This one is a given. Quick is receiving the Jennings Trophy, which is still classified as an individual award for some reason, because the Kings gave up the fewest goals in the league this season. No confirmation as to whether he'll give a speech; there was one in 2011, wasn't one in 2012. Fingers crossed!
Dean Lombardi: Lombardi is a first-time nominee for General Manager of the Year. Voting for this award took place after the second round of the playoffs, so there's an excellent chance that two hard-fought series wins convinced the league's GMs and other executives to recognize him. Is it enough to pass Marc Bergevin (Canadiens) and Bob Murray (Ducks), both of whom were nominated last season and both of whom created teams that exceeded expectations?
Dustin Brown: This is Brown's third consecutive nomination for the Messier Leadership Award, and the winner is literally just picked by Mark Messier. There's a good chance of Brown taking home the hardware for those two reasons alone, though Jonathan Toews and Ryan Getzlaf would be more popular choices to most fans.
Anze Kopitar: Sadly, it feels like the Selke Trophy is Patrice Bergeron's to lose. Kopitar is a first-time nominee, and like teammate Drew Doughty, he just always seems to have a lot more people raving about him during the playoffs than during the regular season. (Just remember this when everyone wonders tonight why Doughty wasn't nominated for the Norris Trophy.) I'm rooting for him to at least finish ahead of Jonathan Toews.
Tune in tonight for the awards; Nick will be there on behalf of Jewels from the Crown.