Gagne. He had to be wondering if he was ever going to play hockey again a few months prior. Everyone pretty much wrote him off for the playoffs, Lombardi included. He worked his butt off to get back in shape in time to play a few games in the Finals. I was thrilled for him.
Brown. too bad he didn't get the other trophy too
1. Brown for obvious reasons already mentioned.
2. Richards. I've always liked him as a player, and I thought being traded out of Philly was a dick move on their part. He was total class. Earned the respect of the team and fans. I thought it was a pretty sweet to see him and Carter reunited and win the cup.
3. Lombardi. He did it his way (mostly), and took some heat, but was ultimately vindicated.
1. Willie Mitchell - almost had to leave the game due to his brain almost turning into warm jello. Prooved everyone wrong by becoming the best D-man on the team, an showing commitment by signing 2 more years when the team wasn't guaranteed a playoff spot.
2. Tied between DB, DP, JQ, and JS. All of them showed up to kick ass in the playoffs.
3. Most of all. Me. I can finally kill myself by stabbing myself in the groin repeatedly with a spork and lay my body in a bathtub with the words "Time Machine" written in crayon on the side, while wearing a sombrero, an iPod around my neck and holding a flAshlight. I capitalized the "A" in flashlight so you pervs know that I'm talking about an actual flashlight. Not the other thing. But that would be funny too. Can't wait to see the future people's WTF faces when they discover my remains.
No question Brown and Kopitar. They were already here when this team was sooooo bad. When Kopi raised the cup I kept thinking about what he (and Brown) went through to with this team to get to the cup. After these two it's a tie between Stoll and Greene who came here during the rebuild process.
Brown - Must have felt like a huge weight was lifted from his shoulders. Played like the Brown we all love from NHL 10 on XBox.
Richards - Traded to LA b/c he was a "problem child" only to stick it in Philly's face and show that he was really part of the solution.
Sutter - Supposedly couldn't win the big prize and come through with flying colors. He was just what the Kings needed and having met him on the street here in downtown LA, a very nice and cool person.
Honorable Mention: Scuds: Way to be a rock for this team.
I know this isn't following the "rules", but Bob Miller and Nick Nickson were the people I was happiest for. To say anything else would be a lie.
Ok, now, within the context of the rules:
1) Kopi - Been here through the entire painful rebuild and came back from a devastating ankle injury. The contrast between him being carried off the ice in 2011 and skating with the Stanley Cup on the same ice (in fact right in the same area he was hurt) in 2012 melts my heart.
2) Brown- For as much as he does for the community, for overcoming a speech impediment (and ridicule) to becoming the dominant captain we saw in the playoffs. Plus, he stated a few years back that he wanted to be the first Kings player to skate with the Stanley Cup. To have that commitment rewarded with the ultimate prize, I can think of a no more deserving player than Dustin Brown to have received the Kings first Stanley Cup.
3) Sutter - He came SOOOO close in 2004, and this time he got his Cup. His coaching was one of the most important, if not the most important factors, in this team's cup win.
1. Brown. All the reasons listed above. He was the first guy to sign a long term deal to show he was committed to this organization. Albeit, at that time a long term deal didnt mean 9+ years. He is the captain, and as the time went by, he grew more and more comfortable with his Captaincy role.
2. Anze. Remember his second camp with the Kings. Everyone here at LGK was salivating, but there was at least one old timer (nameless) that said he was not impressed. In one of his interviews he said something along the line of "I believe I was brought here to help win the Stanley Cup." Sure everyone says that, but when he said it... it was different. It was said as a matter of factly.
3. Bob Miller. I might even put him as #1. But I am a believe in that the players are the ones that win the cup. They are the ones that go through the hellish season, risking their bodies and even their long term health. They are the ones that execute. But there has just not been a better ambassador, IMO, for the game of Hockey in SoCal, than Bob Miller. One super cool dude, who always has time to yap hockey with anyone and everyone. He has been saying for as long as I can remember, "I am scared that they will win the Cup the year after I retire." No need to worry brother!
But guys like Greener, Stoll, Richards, Gagne, certainly Mitchell, and Doughty.... they deserve consideration. Green and Stoll were brought over to help build this team. Green for his leadership, personality, and huge nads. Stoll for his selfishless ways, and leadership. Richards for being painted as the bad guy in Philly. After being a stand up guy, and the leader for so many years. Doughty for the pressure of his huge contract and even bigger expectations. Mitchell and Gagne for their history battling scary injuries. Their hard work paid off.
But I let out the biggest "YYYEEEAAAAA", after Brown's initial cup lifting, when Kopi got his turn.