The blades of their skates cut deep and wide now, far beyond the chilly ice and raucous fans at
That was at Dodger Stadium.
As the Kings flooded the ice to engulf Martinez in bear hugs and howls in celebration of the best three-year period of any
That was at the Underground Pub & Grill in Hermosa Beach.
Perhaps the most compelling part of Friday's party of Kings was that it included Angelenos in
You read that right. Dynasty. Los Angeles Kings. Same sentence. Happening now.
This once-forlorn club that required 45 years to win its first Stanley Cup championship has not only been the best team in hockey over the last three seasons, but the first team to win two titles in three-year span since the
No team has been better than the Kings at figuring out what was supposed to be something of an anti-dynasty salary cap that was instituted in 2006 and has led to seven champions in nine seasons. No team has a similar championship combination of great young players and long-term contracts. And, of course, no other team has a coach like
How much has Sutter kept this young program grounded as it's skated around unprecedented adversity toward greatness? Did you hear him when he finally complimented them after the clincher?
"You've got to give these guys full marks," Sutter said.
That was it. Full marks. And this was for a postseason that included a historic three Game 7 wins on the road and an opening-round comeback from a three-games-to-none deficit. Full marks, and legitimate marks, the Kings have essentially dominated most of the last three Stanley Cup playoffs, with injuries being the main thing that slowed them last season in the conference finals loss to the champion
"After we won that first one, all we wanted to do was win another one," explained defensive leader
We felt like it was ours. Players on dynasty teams talk about championships like that. They think like that. They play like that.
Since the NHL's landmark 1967-68 expansion, there have been only three traditional dynasties. The Montreal Canadians won four straight championships from 1976-79. The
"We've got a long ways to go before that," said
But in the salary-cap era, the dynasty bar has been lowered. If a team like Carolina can show up out of nowhere and win a championship, then the Kings' current run is impressive indeed, and even one more title in the next couple of years should make them a modern-day NHL dynasty.
It could happen. Just looking at the players ages and their contracts, it's hard to argue that this team won't be great for several more years. There are 14 players who have been with the Kings for both Stanley Cup titles, and that many could easily remain together for future runs.
"[Winning] is a result of us, our management, keeping us together and us pulling together," said Doughty. "It's really hard to go with a cap, but we found ways to have guys come up and play well."
And the kids just keep coming. Tylor Toffoli (22), Tanner Pearson (21),
The Kings could be losing
Kings officials were glowing Friday night when captain Dustin Brown's first handoff of the Stanley Cup went to
"Even though now with the cap and the money and the influences — 14-year-olds, they've got agents and everything else — deep, deep down it's still the same," Lombardi told reporters Friday night. "They're still boys, and they want to win championships deep down. And you gotta tap into that."
Oh, his team has tapped into it all right, the Kings digging right through ice and hitting sand, hitting Hollywood, hitting the Southland in a heart that many thought would be forever frozen to the idea of falling in love with a team playing a Canadian sport in a cold rink.
They have won two Stanley Cup titles in three years over the