A season like this is tough to watch, and we all find ourselves being pretty hard on the Los Angeles Kings as they struggle to right the ship. For the rest of November, we’ll be taking some time each day to share why we’re thankful for each player on the team (and some Kings of years past). If you’d like to share your love for a Kings player, past or present, check out our call for submissions.
We’ve had the grit guys, we’ve had some young guys … now it’s time for some battle-tested Stanley Cup champions.
Much has been said on these pages and elsewhere about the work John Stevens did over his career with the Kings, working with young defensemen to develop them into everyday NHLers, and you’ve got to look no further than Jake Muzzin.
Muzzin attracts his fair share of detractors, but it’s no secret that he’s got a cheering squad here at Jewels from the Crown. Like several other Kings last season, despite it being a generally meh year for the team as a whole, Muzzin hit a career high in points and assists, recording 42 points and 34 assists.
MORE WILD:— LA Kings (@LAKings) November 9, 2018
Jake Muzzin's beard > Minnesota Wild#GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/NiJlZvYaTw
Our heavily bearded defenseman may be no match for the mountain man facial hair sported on some other teams, but he’s grown into a well-rounded offensive-minded defenseman for the team, part of the new core of players who contributed to the 2014 Cup run.
And, as reader Mads pointed out, we “obviously have to pay respect to the reigning Bark Madness champ, Daryl.”
We still need YOUR help! Daryl has made the semi finals and now needs your votes again for the finals!! https://t.co/fFcRg4sfoq @LAKings #barkmadness pic.twitter.com/pVUVbTRqnS— Courtney Muzzin (@courtmuzz) March 28, 2018
So thanks, Jake — we appreciate all you do!
This is all we need, right?
Like, forget everything else we could ever say about Alec Martinez. That goal has him forever etched in Kings lore.
Okay, maybe also this one, too:
Martinez has earned two Stanley Cups with the Kings, in addition to a USHL championship, NCAA championship, and a World Championship bronze medal. Martinez has always been an honest, forthcoming interview subject, willing to talk at the highest highs and lowest lows of the team. Even now.
"I think it just comes down to capitalizing on chances and we didn't do that tonight." - Alec Martinez pic.twitter.com/3utqcmnKMw— LA Kings (@LAKings) November 9, 2018
But, really. Honestly.
Need we say more?
Plus, as JFTC reader Frank points out, he’s thankful for Martinez’s “effort every time he’s on the ice”, no more apparent than in the 44:58 he logged in the Kings’ two-overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in last year’s playoffs. Martinez leaves it all out there, and while he usually plays second or third pairing minutes, he can answer the call for when the team needs more from him.
He scores timely goals. He’s a leader on the team, often one of the first to wear an A on his sweater when a member of the regular leadership core is out of the lineup. He hustled to earn his college degree to fulfill a promise he made to his family.
#LAKings defender Alec Martinez walks in and fires home the game-winner with less than a minute remaining pic.twitter.com/yrXU8UcTC3— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 28, 2018
What else? I feel like I’m missing something…
Ah, yes, here’s some more reader feedback: “WHAT ARE YOU BLIND? JUST LOOK AT HIM. LOOK. AT. HIM.”
this was the first thing I saw looking at Instagram stories tonight, and I had to take a deep breath pic.twitter.com/YG0ShSfxaD— THX BUD (@thxbud) October 18, 2018
We've missed you so much, Alec Martinez ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/wcBUJZLAvH— LA Kings (@LAKings) September 29, 2017
"Enjoy this one night, we have a lot of work to be done." - Alec Martinez pic.twitter.com/RACFnNAyOj— LA Kings (@LAKings) May 6, 2014
Alec Martinez is a true treasure. pic.twitter.com/ceuXByybHt— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 20, 2018
The offseason content you all crave: Alec Martinez looking too good pic.twitter.com/Jg5BEs56Y4— LA Kings (@LAKings) May 10, 2018
#teamworkmakesthedreamwork pic.twitter.com/8KTqu98GfE— LA Kings (@LAKings) November 24, 2016
Need we say more?
Previously in our “Month” of Gratitude series: Kyle Clifford | Nate Thompson | Mike Amadio | Paul LaDue