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posted: 6/3/2014 5:18 AM

A difficult loss, but Kings deserve some credit

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  • While Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford won't get to defend the Stanley Cup he helped to win last season, Jonathan Quick will try to help the L.A. Kings win their second title in three years.

      While Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford won't get to defend the Stanley Cup he helped to win last season, Jonathan Quick will try to help the L.A. Kings win their second title in three years.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

The Chicago Blackhawks just couldn't get it done in Game 7 against the Los Angeles Kings, and the loss came as a shock for the fans because of their championship pedigree.

Before the series, I had said NHL teams whose best player is the goaltender sometimes have the toughest road, and that describes the Kings with Jonathan Quick. He is their star among some very good Stanley Cup players.

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The Hawks' goaltender is not the face of the franchise or even its best player. Corey Crawford is a Stanley Cup championship goalie, but so was Antti Niemi in 2010.

The Hawks' stars are their skill players -- guys such as Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

Am I complaining about Corey Crawford? No, because I know he's only part of what happened.

The Hawks were up 2-0 at home in the first period, and should have won, but didn't. Undoubtedly, it was a team loss from head coach to the trainer to the players, but let's give some credit to the Los Angeles Kings players, who were sensational.

My Fox Sports radio show is produced in Los Angeles, and hockey is just a rumor to most of the folks there.

In Game 5, the television ratings suggest more than 600,000 homes in Chicago were tuned in, while in Los Angeles approximately only 190,000 homes were watching. Los Angeles might be the No. 2 market, but when it comes to the sports market Los Angeles is not close to being number two.

Any city without a team in the NFL can't be considered a number two market.

For the hard-core Kings fans, the Hawks series was like the Stanley Cup Finals, so after beating the Hawks I believe they will beat the New York Rangers.

When it comes right down to it, the goalies, Henrik Lundqvist for New York and Quick for the Kings, will make the difference.

In Chicago, head coach Joel Quenneville said this Game 7 was his toughest ever, and it just got away. It's not the easiest thing to repeat as the Stanley Cup champs. As we all know, the Detroit Red Wings were the last to do it in 1997-98.

It sure looked like the Hawks were on their way, but even up 2-0, I didn't feel confident because they weren't outplaying the Kings.

So, congrats to the Kings. It was a good try by the Blackhawks, a team that will be relevant for the next five years.

One thing, however, is apparent: it is extremely difficult to win the treasured Stanley Cup even once, let alone back-to-back. Kings will win in six.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio, and check me out on iHeart radio or Foxsportsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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