Missing out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs is hard, we all know that. For the Los Angeles Kings and their fans they are experiencing it for the first time in five years, a span of time where the organization won two Stanley Cups and won 45 playoff games.
Now the Kings, if not playing in the World Championships, are at home watching other teams duke it out for a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup. That may be the hardest part, watching someone else fight for what is currently yours. Adding insult to injury is the storylines and connections between the Kings and those still in the hunt.
1. The Anaheim Ducks
There is no better example of the idea of “salt in the wound” than the Ducks and their march through their first seven games of these playoffs. The Ducks are the Kings’ crosstown rival, depending on who your allegiance aligns with they are the Batman and Joker, Superman and Lex Luther they are the classic archenemy combination.
Now the Kings are sitting on the sidelines and have watched the Ducks steam roll their way to a 6-1 record, after sweeping the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and starting the second round at 2-1 against the Calgary Flames.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, two of the least liked players by the Kings and their fans, have been on a tear since the post season started. Perry leads the league in post season scoring having tallied 14 points (8G, 6A) with Getzlaf not far behind in second with 12 points (10G, 2A). This mine as well be the Green Goblin destroying the city while Spiderman watches helplessly tied up in his own web.
2. The Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks and the Kings are one of the NHL’s newest and exciting rivalries. Chicago and Los Angeles met in the Western Conference Final the last two seasons, the Blackhawks eliminating the Kings in 2013 and the Kings returning the favor in 2014. This lead to the two teams swapping Stanley Cup titles over that time. Now with the Kings out, the Blackhawks can still take the Stanley Cup from the Kings and the Kings can do nothing to stop them.
The Blackhawks kind of limped their way into the playoffs, Patrick Kane was injured and Chicago didn’t have the same swagger they usually do going into the post season. Kings fans were probably happy about this and the idea of Chicago fizzling out just like the Kings.
Well, they flipped the switch. Kane has returned and has exploded for six goals, four in the second round alone, and 11 points in nine games. Chicago has found that Western Conference powerhouse swagger again and has pushed the Minnesota Wild to the brink of elimination with a 3-0 series lead.
Now the Blackhawks are one win away from their third straight Western Conference final and they don’t have to worry about being paired up with the Kings.
3. The Calgary Flames
Have you ever let someone behind you in line at the grocery store cut in front of you because all they are buying is a pack of gum? Only to have that person win some prize because they are customer number 100 or something like that. That’s basically what we’re looking at here.
The Flames basically took the Kings’ spot in the post season. Calgary both eliminated the Kings from playoff contention and sealed their spot in the playoffs with a win against the Kings back on April 9th. Now the Flames are in the second round facing non other than the Kings number one rival, the Ducks.
Since the puck dropped for the Flames’ post season there has been a whole lot of “instead of” going through the mind’s of Kings fans. Instead of Jeff Carter trying to snipe Frederik Andersen, it’s Johnny Gaudreau with the late game heroics against the Ducks. Instead of the Kings adding another chapter to the Kings versus Ducks rivalry, it’s the Flames trying to upset Anaheim. Instead of the Kings trying to defend their title, it’s the Flames trying to take it.
For the rest of the second round, the Western Conference Final and ultimately the Stanley Cup Final, the Kings and their fans are going to have to watch and get used to the suffering, because things will only get worse before they get better.
Eric received his BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Eric has contributed to RinkRoyalty.com, Buffalowdown.com and California Rubber Magazine.