Bernie Parent: Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings have won their second Stanley Cup in three years. That’s a hell of an achievement.
Each of the Kings’ playoff series were a huge success. Even the first series, when they were down 3-0 and came back with four consecutive wins. They fell behind a couple times after and still made it back to the top, including three overtime wins.
There’s a great message here to apply to life. How many times would people quit when they get behind and hit a low? If you don’t quit and carry on with persistence, you will persevere. And from a guy who has been in their position, I recognize that it takes a team to win: the players, coaching staff, management, the crowd, etc.
Every individual did their part, but they won as a team. If everyone executes their role with passion, everything else will fall together.
During the Kings’ first playoff series, there was a renewal of passion and faith after losing three straight games to winning the series with four consecutive wins. That’s when the magic happens. They were unstoppable. There’s no hesitation. They kept moving forward.
Every player steps on that ice, in this case, every Ranger and every King, feeling that they would win. No one steps on the ice with doubt. And both teams played well. But I saw something unique in the Kings.
Sure, the Kings’ passion was palpable, but the better team won. They have better players with highly developed skills. When you go into overtime, even double overtime, and when you visualize your win, you attract what you’re thinking.
These teams have the best two goalies in the league, and it showed. Henrik Lundqvist faced 48 shots in the last game of the Stanley Cups Final. He made some very unbelievable saves. And honestly, I thought Lundqvist should have won the MVP of the playoffs.
Both of these goalies, Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick, played amazing this season and deserve to compete at this level. I haven’t seen this kind of matchup between goaltenders in a very long time. At this level of play, with the Stanley Cup on the line, you have to make sure that you are just one goal better than your opposing team, because anything can happen to change that lead. Just one missed save can cost you the game, and Quick ended up just one goal better.
Going back out onto the ice for overtime as a goaltender is tense. You make one mistake and it’s over. It elevates your performance. And that goes for every position on a team. That’s the beauty of the playoffs. As soon as your team crosses the blue line, there’s a chance you can win the game. A minor bounce of the puck or a deflection could win that game for you. You feed off the fans and you perform.
There’s been a big influx of comments about the three ex-Flyers - Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams - all leaving Philadelphia to go on and win the Stanley Cup elsewhere. First, there are a lot of factors that have to be taken into consideration when assessing a player’s ability to fit within a system. It’s not just the physical attributes and skill set of that player that has to work with the team, it’s the personality, the chemistry in the locker room, where they are in the development of their play, etc.
Most importantly, a team is a puzzle. You could have three great pieces in the wrong puzzle, and no matter how you try to twist and turn them, those pieces won’t fit. But when those pieces move on to the puzzle they belong to, they fit beautifully. Just because they were good somewhere else, doesn’t mean they would have won a Stanley Cup here.
If the piece doesn’t fit, you have to move on. If you have three circles but you need three squares, you’re wasting your time.