Regardless of which team wins tonight's game seven, both of these teams should be very proud of themselves.
The Los Angeles Kings are an honorable team, full of incredibly skilled players, and it has been a real treat to watch the San Jose Sharks play a series against them. Watching the Kings, you can immediately understand why this team won the Stanley Cup last year. They are well-coached, extremely disciplined, and have world-class players at every position. Jonathan Quick is one of the finest goalies of his generation, Drew Doughty is a defenseman of monstrous talent, and Anze Kopitar is both offensively gifted AND should have been nominated for (and awarded) the Selke this year.
Daryl Sutter is a coach who deserves everyone's respect, both for his skill managing his bench and dealing with a depleted lineup AND his unwillingness to cheapen the game by employing goons or whining to the press. General Manager Dean Lombardi turned the Kings into champions and has set the team up with enough young skill at reasonable prices to be competitive for years to come.The Kings are in good hands, and they deserve all the success they get.
The city of Los Angeles is, quite simply, astounding. Though some may deride L.A. due to bitterness or jealousy, it's clear to anyone who visits Southern California that L.A. is one of the world's greatest cities. It's the place where dreams come true, and where the finest modern art in film and television is created. L.A. makes the world laugh and cry, and the products of this vibrant metropolis enrich the hearts and minds of people around the world. The Los Angeles area is where I went to college, where I live, where I work, where I fell in love, and where I've spent the best years of my life. I wouldn't be the man I am today without Los Angeles, and I'll be thankful till the day I die.
One of my best friends in the entire world, Rudy, was the Kings writer on this very blog until his recent retirement. Last year's Cup win made him very happy, and that happiness was well-deserved. I don't know our new Kings writer, Dunn, nearly as well as I would like, but I could tell from the very first time I read his application for the job that he was hilarious, creative, and talented. I'm happy to have him on board.
Regardless of which team wins tonight, California will be represented by a very strong team that should have an excellent chance of coming out of the West and competing for the Cup. I'd obviously prefer if that team were the Sharks, but if that can't happen then it would hardly break my heart to see the Kings win it again.
This has been a great series, Kings and Kings fans. Thanks to all of you, and good luck tonight.
Prediction: The handshakes are really nice and I probably cry.