Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Los Angeles Kings Win Stanley Cup, Quick Named Conn Smythe Winner

The 2011-2012 NHL season officially came to a close tonight with the Los Angeles Kings defeating the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals by a score of 6-1. Jonathan Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy after posting a brilliant 1.46 GAA and .946 SV% while going 16-4 in 20 playoff games.

Congratulations to the Kings, and also to the Devils for putting him quite a fight after it looked like this series would be an easy win for the Kings after the first three games. I said after the Rangers were eliminated that I really had no plans to watch any of the Stanley Cup Finals, and I really didn't. Aside from being out at places where it may have been on I didn't go out of my way and put any of the games on. I'm a fan of the game of hockey, but after the rollercoaster the Rangers put everybody through in the playoffs, I really just had no interest in watching the Devils attempt to win a Stanley Cup when the Rangers came so close to being in that position. That being said, you have to give the Devils credit where it's due. They turned this into a series after losing the first three games and showed a lot of heart coming winning the past two games. But, as is the case nine times out of ten, the Devils ultimately found out that putting themselves in a 3-0 hole was just too much to overcome. There's a reason only one team has come back from a 3-0 series deficit to go onto win the series - it's kind of hard to do. You just need to have so many things go right while your opponent needs to have so many things go wrong to be able to turn the entire series upside down, and it obviously takes everything out of you. The Devils deserve credit for climbing back into the series, though, so good for them.

And now we play the waiting game. With the collective bargaining agreement set to expire this offseason, the NHL and NHLPA will need to get to work on reaching a new CBA as soon as possible. Many people expect a lockout could be in the future, and after the way things went the last time the CBA expired, it's certainly a realistic worry to have. I'll get into it more in the next few weeks and months, but the one thing I'll say is that if another full season is canceled under Gary Bettman's watch, it will absolutely ruin what's left of his already tarnished legacy as NHL Commissioner. That reason alone makes me thing a deal will be reached. When that will come, though, is anyone's guess. If a lockout happens that extends into the regular season, however, I think it would actually be beneficial to the Rangers. For one, the style of hockey they play is so physical and rough that playing less games would only be a good thing for these guys' bodies. Secondly, it would also mean the Rangers would have less games to play without Marian Gaborik, whose offseason shoulder surgery is expected to keep him sidelined until November or December.

As I said, though, there will be plenty of time to discuss all that, along with the Draft and free agency in the upcoming weeks.

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