I can now say that the 2014 Kings hockey season is officially over.
Yesterday afternoon, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to head to downtown LA for the Kings 2014 Stanley Cup Championship parade and rally at the Staples Center. It was a beautiful perfect day. The sun was shining and the crowd was united in one goal - to celebrate with some of the greatest fans and gutsiest group of men the city has ever had the good fortune to call their own.
Before I share some of my pics, check out some great links that includes videos and photos from throughout the web. (I'll update this with more links as time goes by.)
- LA Kings Insider, "Videos: The parade as seen from atop a bus."
- LA Kings Insier, "Parade, rally photos; South Bay parade on Wednesday."
- Stealing Home at All Trade Bait, All the Time, "What A Grand Day For A Parade."
- A bunch of pics from Redditor Illegal_Teder on imgur from the parade and rally.
- Some pics from inside the rally via Redittor DamnRandall on imgur.
- Video of the parade from Dan Evanson on YouTube.
- Here's a tagboard that includes a bunch of pics tweeted to #LAKingsParade.
- I'd be remiss if I didn't link up the Cup's visit to the Jimmy Kimmel show last night with Alec Martinez and Justin Williams. Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy has all of the video.
Broadcaster Nick Nickson, Darryl Evans and Jimmy Fox are in front below.
Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, Martin Jones, Jeff Schultz and Dwight King are seen below. Schultz was a key unsung hero during this Kings Cup run. He came to the Kings as a veteran free agent, but didn't make the team roster. Instead, he learned the Kings system in the minors, and played in the playoffs when the Kings D-Corps battled injuries. Schultz was great during the Ducks series, and I believe that if not for him we might not be here today.
Coach Darryl Sutter appears to have his own bus. He's holding the child at the front of the bus.
Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, Willie Mitchell and Justin Williams are below.
The Cup! Captain Dustin Brown is holding it up, but goalie Jonathan Quick blocks my view of him. You also see LA Mayor Eric "potty-mouth" Garcetti (My nickname for him is in jest. Frankly, he won my vote with his little outburst.) to the left of Quick and Luc Robitaille to his left. Somehwhere in that mix below is Anze Kopitar.
Kyle Clifford, Jake Muzzin and Jordan Nolan can be seen below.
Hero defenseman with a great stick save in overtime Slava Voynov and Robyn Regehr are below.
Alec Martinez, Drew Doughty and Trevor Lewis are waving below.
|(Shirtless Sutter, pic via Sean Leahy on twitter)|
Kings GM Dean Lombardi gave a great speech, and always makes me wish the Dodgers had a guy just like him. He's a proven leader with a keen eye towards planning.
I've written about this before, but I thought I'd mention again a "Breakfast with the GM" season ticket holder meeting he held so many years ago. He laid out honestly and directly what was wrong with the franchise, the team as it was and what he needed to do to transform the club into a perennial winner. He was frank and brutal, and we needed to hear that. Then, he laid out a complete plan for success, and he has followed it to a "T".
I remember being struck by how logical it all was. We would keep draft picks, build from within, continue to develop talent, make big necessary trades to push us to elite status, and build a culture geared towards winning and teamwork.
It worked, and now we have an opportunity to celebrate a second Stanley Cup Champion in three years.
You can watch Dean Lombardi's speech from yesterday below.
In the photo below, Dean asked Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown to the podium. He then asked them which championship was sweeter - the first one or this one? They both said in unison,
"The Next One!"
Captain Dustin Brown, who is the first American-born Captain in the NHL to win 2 Stanley Cup Championships, came to the podium and hit it out of the park. If you missed Brown's speech watch it below.
Finally, they all gathered around The Cup for a group picture.
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