Los Angeles Kings Win the 2012 Stanley Cup
Suck it, Philadelphia.
Lessons learned? When you have a good roster, don't blow it up when things don't go your way. Build on it, find the right coach, and try and poach the teams that are panicking. And in the modern NHL, a team can be an 8th seed and still be a legitimate contender... but one shouldn't get too carried away with that thought, not every 8th seed is equal.
It sounds simple, and it should be. Instead we'll be inundated with obsession over the Kings' size, their elite goaltending, the 'change of scenery' angle, or something else. It won't be about Dean Lombardi identifying and keeping his core and using trades with desperate sellers to improve his depth.
The Kings didn't win this by sucking for a half-decade to build around high picks. They drafted Drew Doughty 2nd overall in 2008, but other high picks like Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Hickey played no role in this win other than being good cheerleaders.
A lack of injuries again played a big role in a Champion. The Kings were short Simon Gagne, Kyle Clifford and Scott Parse for the majority of the postseason but didn't lose any core players during their run while Gagne got healthy enough to get his name on the Cup.
But yeah, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, John Stevens and Ron Hextall all have their names on the Cup. Lombardi served as an assistant GM in Philly before getting the Kings job, and took Hextall and Stevens with him.
Now the Leafs only have the Blues as Cup-less company since 1967. And all those old Kings, from Marcel to Rogie to Dave to Luc to Kelly and even Ziggy all can see the team they loved and struggled with at the top of the hockey world.