Coach Darryl Sutter and the Kings, left, celebrate with the Stanley Cup… (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles…)
Writers from around the Tribune Co. debate who would win in a seven-game series between the last two Stanley Cup champions, the 2012 Kings or the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks. Feel free to join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times
Of course, the past champion would make it a highly credible final against the current Stanley Cup holders. Remember, the Kings were nearly unbeatable on the road on their way to the Cup, unlike their woes this time around.
But Chicago wins it. In seven games.
The Blackhawks compiled a 75% percent win percentage in the regular season and playoffs combined. Their competition in the final three rounds -- Detroit, Los Angeles and Boston – was somewhat better than what the Kings faced in their last three playoff rounds -- St. Louis, Phoenix and New Jersey.
Lastly, there’s the Scotty Bowman Factor. Never bet against him. Even in a fantasy exercise.
Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune
This season's Blackhawks would win in six against last season's Kings if the teams were to meet in a hypothetical, time-warping Stanley Cup final. The Kings are essentially the same team that won the Stanley Cup a season ago, and the Blackhawks eliminated them from the playoffs in the Western Conference finals this season.
The Hawks' speed would be too much, just as it was in this season's matchup, and would neutralize the Kings' physical brand of play. Corey Crawford has emerged as an elite goaltender this season and outshined his counterpart Jonathan Quick. The Hawks' depth was also invaluable. The Kings developed into a contender last season. The Hawks were a match for no one the entire season.
Kevin Amerman, Allentown Morning Call
Easy, the Blackhawks. They beat the Kings in this year’s conference final, 4-1, and the 2013 Kings brought back every single player from last year’s Stanley Cup-winning team. So this year’s Kings are last year’s Kings -- aside from some tweaks, like adding brawny D-man Robyn Regehr.
Sure, several Kings (Regehr, Mike Richards and Dustin Brown) played through injuries this year against the Blackhawks, but Chicago’s Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toewes and others did the same en route to their Cup victory.
Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick was on fire during the 2012 playoffs and was also hot (first in the NHL with a 1.50 GAA) this postseason before giving up 14 goals in five games against the Blackhawks in Round 3. He was even pulled in the second period of Game 2 after letting up four goals to the more talented Blackhawks.
Harvey Fialkov, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The Blackhawks dispatched the Kings in five games, albeit mostly tight contests, in this year's Western Conference finals. During their historic 24-game point streak to start the season the Hawks knocked the defending champs off twice, including the season opener in which they tarnished the Kings ring ceremony in Staples with a 5-2 rout.
The Kings did pull out a 5-4 comeback win in March and took three of four last season. However, the Kings marched through the 2012 playoffs on the broad back of Conn Smythe goalie Jonathan Quick, while the Hawks utilized a more balanced, four-line attack in front of late-blooming netminder Cory Crawford, who despite a sterling 1.84 goals-against-average flashed a leaky glove at times.