After 45 years, the Stanley Cup finally belongs to the Los Angeles Kings.
And while earning the trophy on Monday night was an incredible achievement and carting it around Los Angeles at the parade on Thursday will be truly memorable, they are but the cherries on top of what was a truly special run in this year's postseason.
When the fans in Los Angeles catch a glimpse of the Cup on Thursday, I hope they understand the truly unique run the Kings went on this postseason. Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports summed it up perfectly:
They're the first No. 8 seed to ever win the Stanley Cup. They tied an NHL record for road wins, going 10-1 away from home before winning the Cup on Staples Center ice. Overall, the Kings were 16-4 in the playoffs—one of the best records in decades for a Stanley Cup champion.
In the regular season, they fired coach Terry Murray 29 games into the season in favor of Darryl Sutter, who won his first Cup. They made a gutsy, blockbuster trade for Jeff Carter of the Columbus Blue Jackets during near the deadline, and he scored twice in the Cup-clinching game.
There's more. They also beat the three top seeds in the Western Conference. They started every playoff series by winning the first three games. Goalie Jonathan Quick held opponents to one goal or less 10 times in the playoffs—all wins for the Kings.
And the team did what Wayne Gretzky couldn't do in 1993, the only other time the Kings made the Stanley Cup finals—they actually won the Cup.
I understand how amazing that parade will be for long-suffering Kings fans on Thursday. In 2008, I saw the Philadelphia Phillies win the first championship for the City of Brotherly Love in my lifetime, and the first in the city since 1983.
After years of watching other teams get to hoist the trophy, the feeling of pride for my team and my town was incredible. Remembering that, I have nothing but happiness for the Kings fans who have long waited to see the same.
So enjoy your parade, Los Angeles. Enjoy the memories from this epic run by the Kings and the memories from 45 years of trying. Enjoy hosting Lord Stanley's Cup.
As a team, the Kings most certainly earned it. And for you lifetime fans, you certainly deserve it as well, after all of your loyalty and support.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets really wanted to have another.