Monday, June 2, 2014

Kings vs Rangers: The 2014 Stanley Cup Final- Storylines

There is not a lot of crossover between this L.A. Kings team and the Rangers, but I'm going to dig deep and find some storylines!

1) Marian Gaborik vs. his former 'mates
Gaborik played with the Rangers from 2009 to the trade deadline last season when he was dealt to the Blue Jackets for some depth guys the Rangers had needed since picking up Rick Nash. Gaborik scored 40+ goals twice with the Blueshirts and was better than a point-a-game player his first year there. But with only 13 points in 25 playoff games, the Rangers thought they could do better and moved him to the hockey wasteland that is Columbus, where he played only 34 games over the period of about a year, tallying 22 points before being traded in a second consecutive deadline deal to the Kings. I'm sure that when Glen Sather traded Gabby a year ago he did not expect to be seeing him lining up across the ice in the Stanley Cup Final one spring later. But them's the breaks.

Animosity meter: 4
Things appear to have worked out pretty well for both sides, I'd say. In all honesty, I don't think the Rangers were getting to the Final without the guys they got in exchange for him (Brassard and Dorsett, especially). And the trade to Columbus allowed Gaborik to eventually wind up with a team he'd wanted to join for a while anyway, one that he has played a key role in getting to the Stanley Cup. I'm sure both sides would like to prove that they were right though.

2) Brian Boyle vs. his former 'mates
The Kings drafted three players in the First Round of the 2003 Entry Draft and currently have three first rounders from that year on their team. Sorry, Jeff Tambellini and Brian Boyle, you two did not make the cut (Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, welcome aboard!).

Boyle played 114 games with the Manchester Monarchs and a grand total of 32 with the Kings between 2007 and 2009, helping them finish at the bottom of the league to draft Drew Doughty and Brayden Schenn. He scored a respectable 8 goals with Kings, although four of them came in his first seven games, so make of that what you will.

At the 2009 Draft, Lombardi traded him to New York for a 3rd round pick the next year, which he used to select… the equally useless Jordan Weal, who four years later, has never even gotten a cup of coffee in the NHL.

Animosity meter: 6
I don't think the Kings care at all, especially in light of the fact that Boyle has not exactly become a superstar in New York (4-21-11-2-6 are his annual goal totals), but I have no doubt that he would like to show them they made a mistake in giving up on him so early.

3) Darryl Sutter vs. Martin St. Louis & Brad Richards
When St. Louis and Richards won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the man standing on the opposite bench was none other than Kings coach Darryl Sutter.

Animosity meter: 0
I bet none of them has even thought about this.

4) Alain Vigneault vs. the Los Angeles Kings
When AV's President's Trophy-winning Canucks were upset by the 8th seeded Kings in the opening round in 2012 it set the wheels in motion that resulted in Vancouver firing him the next summer after another first round implosion.

Animosity meter: 0
AV is probably happy he escaped the nightmare that is Vancouver when he did. As for the Kings, the first round of 2012 was 10 series ago, a distant memory. Seriously, it was TEN SERIES AGO.

Okay, so there isn't much hatred between the Kings and Rangers to start out. Let's see if any develops over the course of the Final.

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