Stanley Cup Champions, 2011-12
The Kings started the 2011-12 NHL season slowly, going 13-12-4, a record that resulted in Lombardi's firing of head coach Terry Murray. It was a tough move by Lombardi because of his respect for Murray, but a move that he felt had to be made to salvage the season. Lombardi opened himself up to criticism by tapping his former head-coach in San Jose, Darryl Sutter. Many believed this was simply a case of recycling a friend and former coach, but Sutter was exactly what the Kings needed to jump-start their season. Murray was retained as a scout. Still, it was battle for the rest of the year for the Kings to qualify for the playoffs, which they did by five points (95-90) over the Calgary Flames for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. That qualification would be the beginning of arguably the greatest and most improbable run in playoff history. The Kings would set several records in their run to the Stanley Cup championship, including being the first eight-seed to win the Stanley Cup, the second team (Calgary Flames) to eliminate the top three seeds in their conference and first eight-seed to do so (Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes), the first team to build 3-0 series leads in all four rounds (Canucks, Blues,Coyotes,and New Jersey Devils), and winning the most games on the road for a Cup champion, 10, and the most consecutive wins on the road, 10. The Kings never faced an elimenation game, and only lost one game on the road, and that didn't happen until Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final in New Jersey, their 11th and final road game. On June 11, 2012, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Kings won the franchise's first Stanley Cup with a 6-1 victory over the Devils. The Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP was goalie Jonathan Quick, a product of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst of the Hockey East conference. Lombardi was quick to praise Murray for getting the team going in the right direction on the bench, and it was announced the team elected to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. He also highly complemented his predecessor Dave Taylor of laying the foundation with keen draft picks, including Anze Kopitar. On June 14, 2012, an estimated 250,00 people came out for the Kings victory parade through downtown Los Angeles. On August 8–9, 2012, Lombardi continued the tradition of every member of the current Stanley Cup champions to spend a day with the Stanley Cup, bringing it to his native Ludlow, Massachusetts.
|General Manager of the San Jose Sharks
|General Manager of the Los Angeles Kings
Read more about this topic: Dean Lombardi
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