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LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi’s Focus On Character and Leadership Is Paying Dividends

LA Kings winger and captain Dustin Brown
(click above to view larger image
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the Los Angeles Kings on the verge of winning their second Stanley Cup Championship in the last three seasons, perhaps as soon as tonight, much has been said about their character and leadership qualities that have been on display throughout the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Indeed, leading the New York Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, the Kings could win the whole enchilada as soon as tonight, when the two teams face-off in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York (5:00 PM PDT; televised on NBCSN in the United States and on CBC and RDS in Canada).

Character and leadership are usually not even a thought in anyone’s mind while watching their favorite hockey team, and especially here in the Los Angeles area, those characteristics were often scoffed at by pundits and fans alike, who believed that skill and talent were all that mattered.

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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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Chicago Blackhawks May Not Have An Answer For LA Kings “That 70’s Line”

LA Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in the second period of his team’s 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the 2014 Western Conference Finals at Staples Center
in Los Angeles on May 24, 2014.

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — Prior to the start of the 2014 Western Conference Final, much of the talk was about the upcoming battle between two of the top centers in the National Hockey League, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Conventional wisdom dictated that for whichever player won the battle between them, their team would win the series.

So far, the advantage goes to Toews.

Indeed, Kopitar has contributed just one assist in the series so far, and his line mates, left wing Marian Gaborik and forward Dustin Brown, have been held without a point in the series by Toews’ line, with Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa on the wings.

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Confidence Is High For LA Kings Heading Into Game 7 vs. Anaheim Ducks

Forward Trevor Lewis (left) has stepped up his game in the playoffs
once again for the LA Kings, while teammate Justin Williams (right) is
5-0 in Game 7’s in his NHL career.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — For the Los Angeles Kings, playing in the seventh game of a playoff series almost seems routine, a foregone conclusion. After all, they are about to play their second Game 7 in consecutive playoff series, already having won Game 7 in the first round against the San Jose Sharks.

Last season, the Kings also needed seven games to get past the Sharks in the second round of the playoffs.

As a team, the Kings are just 5-4 in Game 7’s in their history. But the current team, as individuals, has enjoyed great success in Game 7’s, earning a combined 52-7 record. That has helped make them comfortable and has them feeling very confident heading into Friday’s Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center in Anaheim.

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