Some quick thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Monday night.
The three big pieces for the Los Angeles Kings in winning the Stanley Cup were Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar.
Quick was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner who was tremendous with just sublime numbers in the playoffs and especially this final, giving up just seven goals in six games. Brown got everything going on the power-play for the Kings in Game 6 and Kopitar was a huge force throughout the playoffs, being physically dominant.
Kings general manager Dean Lomabardi and his staff did an incredible job putting this team together but those three players were holdovers from a previous regime. Dave Taylor was the GM and he drafted both Quick and Kopitar in the 2005 NHL Draft and less than a year later, he was fired and replaced by Lombardi. This was the going away present that he and his staff left behind for the current edition.
It's always the case when a team wins the Stanley Cup that it takes so many people to put it together but when you look at the big three on the Los Angeles Kings, they've been there for a while and they've been waiting for this moment.
The referees had no choice but to give Steve Bernier a major penalty and a game misconduct for his hit on Rob Scuderi. When you look at the play, you see that he came a long way to make the hit. Did Scuderi reverse his field? Did he turn at the last minute and put Bernier in a difficult position? Yes, he did.
But at the end of the day, if you run somebody into the boards that violently from behind and there's an injury on the play, it's a major penalty. Whether anybody likes it or not, in the NHL if a play results in an injury and there's perceived to be a foul on the play, there's a major penalty.
You couldn't give him a minor in that situation, because once you saw the blood and a head injury on the play, the referee was obliged to give him a five-minute major. The Devils will debate that, lots of their fans will debate that, but the referee had to make that call.
Can't Blame Bernier
A lot of people will want to say that Steve Bernier lost the New Jersey Devils the Stanley Cup and that's not right for a couple of reasons.
First, they were already in a 3-0 hole in the series, which put them in the situation where one bad call or one bad play can go against you. Second, in that situation, the Devils have to get their penalty kill going.
New Jersey will tell you that they didn't like the fact that Stephen Gionta was hit from behind on the play and there was no call for that. They will also tell you they didn't like that Dustin Penner took a swing right after Scuderi was down on the ice and Penner didn't get called for that. A penalty to Penner there could have off-set at least part of the five-minute power play.
However, you can't give up three goals on one power play and allow the Kings to get engaged to that degree. This was a power play that wasn't great during the playoffs. Los Angeles had six power play goals in three full series against the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes.
In the Stanley Cup Final, the Kings had six power play goals alone on 20 chances in six games against the Devils. You can let one goal in, maybe you let in two, but if you let three in, you're in trouble.