Late last week, the Los Angeles Kings unveiled their commemorative Stanley Cup Book with a Bonus DVD featuring Bob Miller and Jim Fox calling the championship clincher, Game 6 of last June’s Stanley Cup Final against New Jersey. But it’s time to move on.
Please do not get me wrong – I am very proud of last season’s Kings by not only winning the Cup but the road they took to get there as the 8th-seed who just squeaked into the playoffs without being given a chance to do anything except prove all the skeptics wrong. The Kings did that and for me (and I’m sure Kings fans everywhere), the spring of 2012 will live in my heart forever. But now that a new season has begun, it’s time to focus on the present. One Cup was great – but why not another? The Kings made history last year and if they can go all the way this year, they’ll make history again becoming the first team in 15 years (and the third in 21 years) to win the Stanley Cup in consecutive years. But the Kings have focus on right now and that’s not going to happen if the team continues to rest on their laurels.
From the parade to each player’s journey with hockey’s Holy Grail itself, fans have had all summer plus an extra few months thanks to the lockout to enjoy the big win. Like all Kings fans, I bought the championship hats and shirts, was given rally towels, commemorative beer and milk bottles, a streamer that fell from the rafters of the Staples Center when Game 6 ended, a few books and a championship DVD by various Kings fan (and for that, I’m forever grateful) but we’ve had our time to celebrate and we have everything we need to remind us of last season whether it’s physical or just the memories.
On Opening Day, we finally got to see the Kings raise their championship banner to the rafters, had the players skate around with the Stanley Cup before the game and every fan in attendance even received miniature championship banners. The players also received their championship rings and the following week, fans in attendance to see the Kings beat Vancouver received replica championship rings. It’s been quite a party and personally, I could not ask for more. Everything, though, has to come to an end – but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen again.
Had the NHL canceled this season due to the lockout, being called the defending champions would be, at best, a hollow victory. Sure, the Los Angeles Kings would still have the Stanley Cup but what does it mean if they can’t defend it? Nothing, if you ask me. So, now that the season’s been salvaged, I’m happy that the Kings are defending their crown the proper way. It’s more difficult this way but like the old adage goes, nothing in this world worth having comes easy. It’s as simple as that.
Let’s never forget last season and even this past summer as the Los Angeles Kings and their fans were filled with unbelievable joy. More than anything, I would love for history to repeat itself this year. But for that to happen, the Kings will have to play better than they have thus far and everyone needs to look forward because, like billboards across Los Angeles said last season, the time is now.