2014 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONSHIP WRAP-UP: Part 6 of Frozen Royalty’s wrap-up of the Los Angeles Kings winning the 2014 Stanley Cup Championship and the ensuing celebration.
LOS ANGELES — One week has passed since the Los Angeles Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup Championship. Since then, the Kings held the celebratory parade in Downtown Los Angeles on June 16, and a rally at Staples Center that immediately followed the parade.
After that, there was another parade through South Bay cities. The Kings have also taken the Stanley Cup to the beach, restaurants, Las Vegas, a charity poker tournament, and more.
Hockey’s Holy Grail will return to Las Vegas for the National Hockey League Awards on Tuesday.
But going back one week to the Cup-clinching Game 5, when defenseman Alec Martinez scored at 14:43 of the second overtime period to win the game and the Stanley Cup for the Kings, yours truly was able to find the Hall-of-Fame “Voice of the Kings,” television play-by-play announcer Bob Miller, during the on-ice celebration. He spoke about the final moments of the game from his perspective, as he recorded a call of the game with color commentator Jim Fox, which will be made available later this summer.
“It happened so fast, the rebound, and then, all of a sudden, there it was, and it’s in,” Miller recalled. “Jimmy Fox and I were jumping around and everything and I had something written down that I wanted to say, but it was different than [three seasons] ago, when we had the big lead and you knew it was going to happen and you’re just counting down the final seconds.”
“We talked about winning the Cup, the longest game in Kings history, and the crowd going wild,” Miller added. “Then, I did get to say what I wanted to say.”
“Royalty reigns again in the National Hockey League. For the second time in three years, the Los Angeles Kings have ascended to the throne. The Kings are the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions.”
Frozen Royalty provided audio of those triumphant words on June 14, shortly before KingsVision released Miller’s call at the end of the game, which you can watch below:
Miller praised President/General Manager Dean Lombardi for his work in building a team that was able to win its second Stanley Cup Championship in the last three seasons.
“I think it’s a tribute to Dean Lombardi, in this salary cap era, that you can keep 17 players from a Stanley Cup Champion [three seasons] ago, [bring them] back this year and win the Cup again, because so many teams win a Cup, lose players and have to do a little rebuilding job,” said Miller. “Dean has done a marvelous job getting [forward Jeff] Carter at the trade deadline [in 2012], getting [left wing Marian] Gaborik this year and there were so many candidates for that Conn Smythe award. There were seven or eight. I can’t ever remember a season where there would’ve been that many candidates to win the MVP of the playoffs.”
Having just completed his 41st season behind the microphone for the Kings, Miller was a first-hand witness to a whole lot of bad hockey by the Kings, much of it caused by poor decisions by ownership and general managers, especially in terms of drafting and developing young players, an aspect of the game that was virtually ignored for the vast majority of the team’s history.
“The other thing Dean did was that he got a lot of young players and he did not rush them from the minors to the NHL,” Miller emphasized. “He knows that you’ve got to go down and pay your dues.”
Miller recalled the early years of Lombardi’s tenure when he met with season ticket holders and explained his plan.
“When he met with the fans—season ticket holders—and he had all those little boxes on that big chart,” Miller reminisced. “Fans said, ‘what are all these boxes?’”
“[Those boxes were] what we had to fill in to get better, and not to be good for one year, but be good year after year after year, and that’s what he’s done,” Miller added. “He got young guys, but he never rushed them to the NHL level. They stayed in the minors, they learned to play the game, and when he felt they were ready, he brought’em up. We saw that in Tyler Toffoli, we saw that in Tanner Pearson, and it’s paid off. He’s just done a marvelous job.”
“Dean did a great job building this team and Darryl Sutter has done a great job of keeping this team focused only on the next period, the next game. They never get too far ahead of themselves.”
In 2012, the Kings blew right through the post-season, taking 3-0 leads in every round, ending with a 16-4 record and their first Stanley Cup Championship in what was then the 45-year history of the franchise. But this year, their post-season run to the Stanley Cup was very different.
“It was different because I remember, [three seasons] ago, the dominance they had,” said Miller. “But this year, so many times, they could’ve been out, and they just kept coming back. In the final game tonight—same thing. Tie it in the third, win it in overtime. This team is just unbelievable in their resolve to come back and win.”
As reported earlier, Miller and Fox recorded their call of the Cup-clinching Game 5, as they did for the deciding Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
“We knew we were going to do it this year,” Miller noted. “We had the experience of [three seasons] ago, so we got to do it this year.”
“I’m just so happy it ended [with a win and a Stanley Cup Championship], and I’m so happy that I don’t have to go back to New York and do a game again,” Miller added.
But now that the Kings have won the Stanley Cup again, does that mean Miller, now 75 years old, is pondering retirement?
Truth is, retirement has, at the very least, been in the back of his mind for at least a few years. In fact, after the Kings won the 2012 Stanley Cup Championship, Miller indicated that he was indeed a bit closer to retirement after the Cup win.
“It makes it a little more realistic to say that I know it’s coming to an end sometime, and at least I’ve seen them win one Cup, and hopefully more, if I stick around a few more years,” Miller said during the summer of 2012. “I think it makes it a little easier to say if, for some reason, I decide, a year or two from now, ‘that’s it. I’m going to spend more time with Judy (his wife), and we’re going to do some things, like travel at times of the year we can’t travel now.’”
Fans will be relieved to know that Miller will be back behind the Fox Sports West microphones next season.
One more thing from #LAKings on-ice celebration: Bob Miller said he's having a lot of fun and isn't retiring.—
Frozen Royalty (@frozenroyalty) June 14, 2014
“Every time you win the Cup you want to come back for the next year, so I’m going year-to-year on my contract, and I’ll be back next year,” he said.
“Who knows,” he added. “I’m probably fairly close [to retirement], but I haven’t put a time limit on it yet. It’s too much fun now! I could’ve retired several years ago when we weren’t winning!”
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- Like His Players, LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi Deflects Credit For 2014 Stanley Cup Championship
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