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LA Kings Justin Williams Emerged As Clear-Cut Choice For Conn Smythe Trophy

LA Kings right wing Justin Williams (right) receives the Conn Smythe Trophy from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (left)
after the Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup at
Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 13, 2014.
(click above to view larger image
Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images and
the Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — Heading into the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and right wing Justin Williams appeared to have put some distance between themselves and a small handful of teammates who were also in the conversation for the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded annually to the Most Valuable Player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But once the Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup in Game 5 on defenseman Alec Martinez’ goal at 14:43 of the second overtime period, the choice was clear: the trophy had to go to veteran right wing Justin Williams.

Indeed, Williams was the best choice for the Conn Smythe Trophy, even though the Kings got outstanding performances from several players. But his play in the Stanley Cup Final, when he scored two goals and added five assists for seven points, with a +2 plus/minus rating and one game-winning goal, clinched the Conn Smythe Trophy, as he led all players in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final in scoring.

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LA Kings Justin Williams: “Just Win” and “Puck Luck Is For Cop-Outs”

LA Kings right wing Justin Williams
(click above to view larger image
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings had a long night after their 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final in New York on June 11.

Indeed, the Kings headed to John F. Kennedy International Airport right after the game, boarding their charter for the nearly 5 1/2-hour, coast-to-coast flight back to Los Angeles.

“[The flight] was fine. Had a good Chilean Sea Bass,” said center Jarret Stoll, eliciting laughter from the media. “It was good. Food was great. Really good catering last night. Got a good three hours of sleep.”

The Kings eat quite well on their charter flights. But rest is often an entirely different matter, and as Stoll indicated, they did not get much sleep on the plane, and probably not much more that morning, given their 3:36 AM PDT arrival at Los Angeles International Airport. As such, it was surprising to see that some players chose to skate on Thursday afternoon, despite the lack of rest.

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LA Kings: Dean Lombardi’s Gamble On Justin Williams Is Paying Off Many Times Over

LA Kings right wing Justin Williams
(click above to view larger image
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — Back in early March 2009, when the Los Angeles Kings acquired veteran right wing Justin Williams, many people, including yours truly, expressed concern about the deal, given Williams’ lengthy injury history.

Indeed, before joining the Kings, Williams had played a full, 82-game season just twice. From 2000-01 to 2008-09, he suffered injuries that include broken fingers and hands, a broken wrist, shoulder strains and sprains, a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn Achilles tendon.

When he was acquired by the Kings, Williams was on injured reserve after suffering another broken hand.

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LA Kings And NY Rangers: 2014 Stanley Cup Final Preview/Prediction

The Stanley Cup
(click above to view larger image
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — After eight months, the National Hockey League has finally reached the peak of its crescendo, with the New York Rangers here on the left coast to face-off against the Los Angeles Kings in 2014’s quest for hockey’s version of the Holy Grail, the Stanley Cup.

Players, head coaches and general managers of both teams met the media on June 3 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the players spent a lot of time analyzing their opponent.

“[The Kings are] a big team,” said Rangers forward Brad Richards. “Straightforward, experienced, and they obviously don’t give up. We’ve seen that over the last few years, and especially this year. You know that their will is there. We’re going to have to get to that, and match that. After that, there’s not a lot of surprises. It’s straightforward hockey, and they’re going to come. Besides that, we’ll see where it goes.”

“They’re obviously a very, very good team,” said Rangers forward Chris Kreider. “That’s why they are where they are, at this point in the season. That’s why they’ve had so much success over the past few years.”

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