The NHL is one of the most popular sports in the United States of America, next to the NFL and NBA. It has epic sports odds and is a league that combines speed and skill with power and a bit of fighting, as might be expected of any sport on ice.
Hockey is a great sport, and a very challenging one, so any team that is worth the title of being one of the ‘best’ has to be damn good! For many who have good NHL insights, the Los Angeles Kings are one of the top teams.
So, who are some of the players on a team you would not expect to be top tier on the ice? Let’s tell you all about them!
Who Are The Los Angeles Kings?
The Kings are a pro ice hockey team that is based in Los Angeles, California. They compete in the NHL’s Pacific Division in the Western Conference.
The team was founded in June 1967 after Jack Kent Cooke was awarded an expansion franchise in 1966. This led to the Kings becoming one of the 6 teams that joined the league as part of the NHL’s expansion.
They played home games at The Forum in California for a total of 32 years before they moved to the Crypto Arena at the beginning of the 1999 season.
In the 70s and 80s the Kings were a rising team, with endlessly impressive regular season play, but sadly always washed out after early playoff exits.
They have 2 Stanley Cups to their name, one in the 2011-2012 season, and another in the 2013-2014 season. They also have 3 conference championships including the seasons from 1992-1993, 2011-2012, and 2013-2014.
Their colors are black, silver and white, and have been slowly working their way back to improve their roster. While they did not qualify for the playoffs from the 2018-2019 season until the 2020-2021 season, they did make it in the last season and have high hopes once again for this upcoming season.
History Of The Kings!
SO, how did they get where they are? And where did they come from?
The NHL wanted to expand for the 67-68 season, and Jack Kent Cooke paid $2 million to place one of six teams to expand in LA. And so, the Kings were born.
The most significant part of their inception was around disputes to do with the arena. Cooke faced so much backlash and eventually just decided to build his own arena, The Forum. The Kings started their first playing year defeating another expansion team: the Flyers.
But then, the Forum finally opened its doors at the end of 1967, and the Kings got shut out by the Flyers 2-0. Savage!
For some time, due to poor management, the Kings suffered. Eventually, through the draft, acquisitions, and proper roster management, they returned to form and were a playoff team in 1974!
After suffering at the start of the 70s, they moved to upgrade their offense in the form of Marcel Dionne. With Dionne and forward Robert “Butch” Goring, they played two very thrilling seasons, with matchups in the playoffs against the Flames and the Bruins!
Head coach Bob Pulford left the Kings after 77, due to constant arguments with Cooke, and the 78 season suffered because of it, and they were easily swept out of the playoffs by the Maple Leafs.
After some additional roster retooling, Dionne ended up on a line with some new, young, unknown at the time players. Dionne centered this line with Charlie Simmer on left wing and Dave Taylor on the right. The players meshed nicely and became known as the “Triple Crown Line.”
In the first seasons of this set up, Jerry Buss purchased the Kings, Lakers, and Forum, and the Kings ended up regressing.
Into the 80s, the Kings managed to get a winning record under head coach Pat Quinn, while they only got 4th place, it was still a success for them.
In 1987, Bruce McNall purchased the kings and turned them into a worthy contender overnight. He gained the team’s best ever player, the infamous Wayne Gretzky in a trade with the OIlers.
In Gretzky’s first season with the Kings, he led the team in scoring with 168 points on 54 goals and 114 assists. He was named MVP of the NHL that year.
Later, Barry Melrose was hired as coach and helped the Kings reach new heights, and in 1993 they faced the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals. Despite a solid team and the NHL’s greatest player, they were unable to hoist the Stanley Cup.
This was a tough period for the team, where they faced bankruptcy, moved to the Staples Center, and started rebuilding from there. Despite some tough times, the rebuild included some very important drafts, starting in 2003 when the Kings drafted future captain Dustin Brown. Two years later, in 2005, they added Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick. In 2008, again they added a key piece in Drew Doughty. Quietly, the team was growing and adding the right pieces.
The Kings would return to the playoffs in 2009-10 and 2010-11, but lose each time in the first round. In 2011-12, the Kings would finish the season as the 8th seed, but went on a terrific run to the Stanley Cup Final. The Kings would upset three higher seeds along the way, and finalized their season with a Stanley Cup win against the New Jersey Devils. That team became the lowest seed to win a Stanley Cup.
Los Angeles would return to the Stanley Cup Finals in the 2013-14 season, after another incredible run. This time, they came from a 3-0 series deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks in seven games. They would go on to win two more seven game series’ before finally defeating the New York Rangers in five games during the Stanley Cup Finals.
Since then, the Kings have only reached the postseason twice, losing in the first round each time. The team once again finds itself in a retooling phase, trying to acquire the right pieces while also giving key players such as Kopitar and Doughty another chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. Players such as Gabriel Vilardi, Arthur Kaliyev, and Quinton Byfield are the next generation of talent in L.A. At the time of writing, during the 2022-23 season, the Kings find themselves in great shape about halfway through the season. They may not be far off from competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs once again!