Commentary

Signs of more titles to come?

Kings hint there may be other parades, rallies to celebrate future Stanley Cup wins

Updated: June 17, 2014, 12:54 AM ET
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- When the Los Angeles Kings enjoyed their first Stanley Cup-winning parade and rally two years ago, their goaltender dropped an expletive after drinking a beer or two, their general manager lost his voice and their coach finished his address by telling everyone to stay out of trouble.

On Monday, Jonathan Quick sat back and let Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti hold up a beer and drop an expletive, Dean Lombardi did his best Pat Sajak impersonation and Darryl Sutter smiled as he touched the Stanley Cup at the rally.

"See this baby right here," Sutter said. "She's been gone for a couple of years but, oh, we're happy she's home."

[+] EnlargeLos Angeles Kings rally
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsKings center Anze Kopitar, from left, captain Dustin Brown and general manger Dean Lombardi celebrate all the team's trophies Monday at Staples Center.
You could say the Kings have become old pros at championship parades and rallies after going through two sets of them in three years. And by the sounds of the players, this is only just the beginning for them.

When Lombardi brought up Kings captain Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar at the end of his speech, he asked them, "You won a ring in 2012 and 2014. Which one is your favorite?" They both smiled and said, "The next one."

It was a sentiment echoed by Conn Smythe winner Justin Williams.

"I'm honored and ecstatic to add another ring to my finger, and I'm proud to be a part of some guys' first ones," Williams said. "Now let's add to it next year."

It's not hard to see why the Kings would be thinking about a dynasty after becoming the first team in 16 years to win the Stanley Cup twice in three years.

Only three players on their roster are free agents. Marian Gaborik, who leads the league in goals, is the team's top priority and is expected to re-sign after coming to the team in a trade-deadline deal. Defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene are the other two free agents and could both be back as well.

Everyone else on the roster is signed for next season. And many other core players, including Quick, Brown, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov, are signed for the foreseeable future.

Monday wasn't just a celebration for this year's Stanley Cup champions; at some points during the rally, it sounded like the coronation of the league's next dynasty.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Quick
AP Photo/Nick UtKings netminder Jonathan Quick hoists the Stanley Cup during Monday's parade through downtown
Los Angeles.
"In 2012, those hockey experts came out and said we had a good young team but we got hot at the right time," said Luc Robitaille, the Kings' president of business operations. "But what they failed to recognize at the time was, really, this was our coming-out party.

"Three years and 64 playoff games later, we've won two Stanley Cups. For all you hockey experts, we've got more to come. Let's enjoy this summer and we'll see you next year."

The Kings have rewritten the NHL's record books over the past three seasons. Their 64 playoff games over the past three seasons is a record, as is the 26 postseason games they played to win the Stanley Cup this year.

They also became the first team to win three Game 7s, all on the road, to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. And two years ago, they became the first No. 8 seed to win it all. They were the fourth team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit, the first to overcome losing three straight in back-to-back series, and the first to win three straight games after trailing by two goals in each game.

As those accomplishments were flashed on the big screen at Staples Center, Kings players looked up and smiled, occasionally glancing at each other.

"When we look back at this team in 10 or 20 or 30 years, everyone will talk about how we came back from 3-0, how we came back from 3-2, how we had all these comebacks throughout," Brown said. "If I can try to relate what we as players share, all those things are possible because of the relationships we've bonded over together. That goes a long way when the going gets really tough -- knowing you have a brother you can lean on."

The Kings have leaned on each other during a record-setting three-year run. And if Monday was any indication, it just might be the beginning of their championship run.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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