For one day, the Los Angeles Kings will get to experience what the Lakers did when they won five championships in a span of 10 years.
On Thursday, the Kings will parade around in downtown Los Angeles, beginning at noon, complete with the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy awarded to goaltender Jonathan Quick and the Clarence Campbell Cup. All 18,000 tickets have been claimed for the championship rally, and you can bet L.A. will be roaring for the team that went on an improbable run this season to capture its first title in franchise history.
This has been the Lakers' post five times in the past 12 years. And it's unfamiliar territory for the Kings, who are upstaging the Lakers this season. While this likely won't cede the city to the Kings, they can be assured that they are officially on the map in Los Angeles, a true champion worthy of wide-spread praise.
The Kings, like the Clippers, had been overshadowed by the Lakers for years. They hadn't been to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1993, and the past two seasons had seen them fall in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
But this season was truly astonishing. The Kings came into the playoffs as the final seed in the Western Conference with 95 points on the season. They also had lost their last two regular-season games.
Who will be the kings of L.A. next season?
Yet, the Kings went on one of the most improbable postseason runs in NHL history, knocking out the first-seeded Vancouver Canucks in five games, sweeping the second-seeded St. Louis Blues and defeating the third-seeded Phoenix Coyotes in five games to get to the finals. From there, the Kings won the first three games before finishing the New Jersey Devils off in six games.
You only had to listen to the roars within the arena after that Game 6 victory to know where the Kings stood. They had claimed the throne, albeit for one season, and claimed a place in history in the process.
So as the Kings parade in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, they finally need no introduction. The city of L.A. knows who they are—world champions.