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  • LA mayor drops F-bomb in declaring big day for Kings Jun 17, 2014 10:40 AM
    Mayor Eric Garcetti used the F-bomb in declaring it a big day for LA, bringing 19,000 hockey fans to their feet, lighting up the Twitterverse in delight and, oh yeah, leaving some folks scratching their heads, wondering just what the ... heck the normally soft-spoken elected official was thinking.

     
  • LA Kings celebrate Stanley Cup with parade, rally Jun 16, 2014 8:46 PM
    Darryl Sutter patted the glistening rim of the Stanley Cup, and a roar erupted from the Los Angeles Kings’ joyous fans. “See this baby right here?” the coach asked. “She’s been gone for a couple of years, but oh, we’re happy she’s home.”

     
  • NHL’s West is best again in Stanley Cup finals Jun 14, 2014 4:17 PM
    The West is best in the NHL — again. The Los Angeles Kings beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in double overtime Friday night in Game 5, giving the Western Conference a third straight NHL champion, fourth in five years and sixth in nine years. In the regular season, the Eastern Conference has also been consistently overmatched. The West won 246 games and lost 202 against the East during the regular season — winning more intraconference matchups for the eighth straight season — to increase its advantage to 1,064 wins to 914 losses since the 2005-06 season, according to data from STATS provided to The Associated Press. When the league emerged from a lockout in 2006, a salary cap was put in place to level the field, yet it’s actually been tilting West. Los Angeles and the Blackhawks, which have faced off in the last two conference finals, have combined to win four of the last five Cups. “Both of those teams have built programs with a lot of depth after being terrible for a long time,” Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said in a phone interview. “They made good picks and made the right moves.” The Kings were bad enough to have the No. 2 overall pick in 2008 and they took full advantage, selecting defenseman Drew Doughty, who has developed into a star. They also made the most of another first-round pick almost a decade ago, drafting center Anze Kopitar, who has become perhaps the league’s best player that doesn’t get a lot of publicity. Likewise, the Blackhawks have built their team around high draft picks, taking forward Patrick Kane No. 1 overall in 2007, one year after selecting Jonathan Toews third overall. The Kings and Blackhawks will likely be the teams to beat next year, too. “The West has more dominant teams, led by LA and Chicago, and I think it should stay that way in the future,” said Anson Carter, a former NHL player and current NBCSN analyst. “I don’t see much of a fallout, but I think this kind of thing just goes in cycles.” The East did have a third straight champion when Carolina won the first Stanley Cup in the salary cap era in 2006 and it hoisted the coveted hardware five years in a row from 1991 to 1995. The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues also racked up enough points in the regular season to finish behind only one team in the East, the Boston Bruins, who won it all in 2011. “When a team wins a championship, you try to do what you can to beat those teams and I think in recent years that started with Boston,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “The common denominator is having strength up the middle with an elite defenseman, centerman and goaltender.” The Kings certainly were tough to beat up the middle with Jonathan Quick in net, Doughty on the blue line and Kopitar in the middle up front. New York, though, did match up well in those pivotal spots with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, defenseman Ryan McDonagh and center Derek Stepan. The Rangers pushed Los Angeles to a combined three overtime periods in the first two games before losing and had a 32-15 shots advantage when they lost Game 3. New York avoided a sweep, winning 2-1 on Wednesday night to shift the series back to Los Angeles. “It’s not like we’ve been outplayed,” Lundqvist said. “That hasn’t been the case. They’ve been good, but I think we’ve been playing pretty good as well. It comes down to a couple plays here and there. That’s been the difference in these games.”

     
  • Kings win the Cup on double-OT goal Jun 14, 2014 12:44 AM
    Alec Martinez scored 14:43 into the second overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 5 on Friday night. Marian Gaborik scored a tying power-play goal with 12:04 left in regulation for the resilient Kings, who rallied from yet another deficit before finishing off the Rangers in the longest game in franchise history.

     
  • Blackhawks weren’t the only ones creating a little drama Jun 13, 2014 5:30 AM
    The last couple of months have been fascinating — as they always are with the Blackhawks. Kaner, Toews, the OT’s, the almost amazing comeback … but the one memory that will stick with me forever was the day of Game 5 in St. Louis. I’m pretty sure it was the most ridiculous day in history.

     
  • Kings look to finish off Rangers in finals sweep Jun 11, 2014 5:39 PM
    The Los Angeles Kings know they are heading home after Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. They don’t want to bring the New York Rangers along for the ride. One day before their first chance at their second Stanley Cup title in three years, the Kings harkened back to a pair of series — one this year when they rallied from a 3-0 hole to eliminate San Jose in the first round, and the 2012 finals when New Jersey won two straight to force Game 6.

     
  • Rangers beat Kings 2-1, stay alive in Cup finals Jun 11, 2014 10:26 PM
    The New York Rangers suddenly have some life in the Stanley Cup finals. Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves and Benoit Pouliot and Martin St. Louis each scored as the Rangers managed to keep the Los Angeles Kings at bay in a 2-1 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday night.

     
  • Mike North video: Beating the Hawks means Kings could sweep the Rangers Jun 11, 2014 11:15 AM
    Mike North thought the Chicago Blackhawks were the best team in hockey this year, so when the Los Angeles Kings won the series 4-3, it looked like there was no hope for the New York Rangers.

     
  • Stanley sweep? Rangers regroup after 0-3 start Jun 10, 2014 7:55 PM
    The gravity of the situation was etched on the face of New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. One more loss Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Kings and his squad gets the distinction of being swept in the Stanley Cup Finals. No team has been swept in the finals since Detroit did it to Washington in 1998, completing a run of four straight Stanley Cup sweeps. So while the Kings are trying to close out the series, New York’s focus is strictly on moving past disappointment and getting back to LA for Game 5.

     
  • Kings on brink of winning Stanley Cup Jun 9, 2014 10:10 PM
    Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings are finishing off the New York Rangers in a big hurry. The Connecticut native, who grew up a fan of the Rangers and 1994 Stanley Cup-winning goalie Mike Richter, had his best game of the finals by far. He made 32 saves and put the Kings on the cusp of another coronation with a 3-0 victory over New York in Game 3 on Monday night.

     
  • NHL still grappling with concussions Jun 8, 2014 3:05 PM
    Hours before the Stanley Cup finals began, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman proudly proclaimed that concussions are down across the league and there are numbers to back him up. That does not mean the league has figured out how to prevent head injuries among its players. Or that the numbers tell the whole story. According to data from STATS provided to The Associated Press, there were 53 concussions during the regular season, a sharp decline from the 78 reported during the league’s last full season two years ago. But even Bettman said there is only so much the league can do about a player hiding a head injury to stay on the ice.

     
  • Credit Blackhawks’ Kane with growing up Jun 7, 2014 4:43 PM
    Without reliving the unfortunate incidents of summers not long ago, Patrick Kane now talks about using the off-season to become a better player, be more prepared for next season and mentor young players. Yes, Patrick Kane sounds like he has grown up.

     
  • LA Kings outlast Rangers 5-4 in double OT Jun 8, 2014 12:16 AM
    Captain Dustin Brown redirected Willie Mitchell’s shot 10:26 into the second overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings outlasted the New York Rangers 5-4 Saturday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. Marian Gaborik tied it with 12:24 left in regulation for the Kings, who rallied from another two-goal deficit in their latest exhibition of clutch comeback hockey.

     
  • Hawks feel the love from fans at Wrigley Jun 6, 2014 2:44 PM
    Several members of the Chicago Blackhawks came out to Wrigley Field Friday morning to take batting practice and meet Cubs players. Even though the Hawks lost a tough series to the Kings to end their season a few days ago, they said they feel the support from the fans.

     
  • Hawks’ Foley earns spot in Hockey Hall of Fame Jun 5, 2014 8:54 PM
    Six years after rejoining the Chicago Blackhawks and watching them awaken a city and a franchise with a pair of Stanley Cup championships, veteran broadcaster Pat Foley will receive the highest honor bestowed in his profession. The Hockey Hall of Fame and National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association have selected Foley, the voice of the Blackhawks for 31 seasons, as the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award winner for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

     
  • Blackhawks finally get rest they didn’t want Jun 5, 2014 10:13 PM
    Throughout the Los Angeles series, as was the case in the first two rounds, the Blackhawks made uncharacteristic mental mistakes, very likely the result of so many difficult and emotional games the last two years.

     
  • Williams puts LA Kings past Rangers in OT opener Jun 4, 2014 10:41 PM
    Justin Williams scored 4:36 into overtime after a turnover by Dan Girardi, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Wednesday night in the Stanley Cup finals opener. Williams was left alone in the slot after Girardi’s pass from his knees went straight to Mike Richards. Williams put his eighth goal of the postseason past Henrik Lundqvist, who made 40 saves and nearly stole an early win for the Rangers.

     
  • Leddy still bemoans season-ending bad bounce Jun 3, 2014 10:58 PM
    A couple of days after it happened, Nick Leddy still shakes his head at the way the Blackhawks’ season ended. “Words can’t really describe it — it’s amazing,” the young defenseman said of the Kings’ game-winning goal in overtime Sunday.

     
  • Toews, Kane are truly Blackhawks mainstays Jun 3, 2014 11:05 PM
    Even though he couldn’t be any clearer than saying recently that he wanted Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to be Blackhawks for life, Hawks’ general manager reiterated that point again Tuesday, saying taking care of his two superstars is job No. 1 this summer.

     
  • Blackhawks ready to make changes? Not big ones Jun 3, 2014 11:02 PM
    The Blackhawks were a bounce away from winning it all again, so hysterics are unnecessary and, yet, overreactions expected. But the Hawks don’t need a major overhaul.

     
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