Los Angeles Kings: Possible Stanley Cup Hangover Disasters
Since 97-98, there hasn't been a repeat Stanley Cup champion. Why?
Is it the parity in the league? Is it the difficulty to maintain such a high level for multiple years? Is it the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover?
I'd say all of the above are certainly factors.
Many have argued that the mystical Stanley Cup hangover doesn't exist. However, with less time to recover and recuperate from injuries in addition to journeys and parties with Lord Stanley's hardware, focusing on a season right off the bat can be difficult.
Many Stanley Cup-winning teams have disaster scenarios when entering their title-defense season. Here are a few that the Los Angeles Kings might have to worry about.
A Subpar or Injured Jonathan Quick
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News has been pretty slow out of the Los Angeles Kings camp this offseason.
However, just last week, it was reported by Kings Insider Rich Hammond that Quick was to undergo a surgical back procedure to remove a cyst.
The 26-year-old is expected to be ready for the start of the season. However, with the current unknown status of Jonathan Bernier, the Kings could be looking at an injured or recovering Jonathan Quick to start the season without Bernier as a backup.
A strong start is always something a defending champion needs. If Quick isn't at 100 percent and the Kings don't have a solid answer in the backup role, it could be a really rocky start to the season.
Poor Offensive Numbers
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Let's face some facts. The Kings' offensive numbers in the playoffs were a pretty big anomaly compared to that of the regular season.
The team really started clicking on all cylinders just at the right time. Confidence bred confidence, and the rest is history.
But the Kings addressed an offensive issue this offseason, and that was the firing of offensive assistant coach Jamie Kompon and the hiring of Davis Payne.
Payne, the former head coach of St. Louis, is hopefully the answer to a Kings power play that was absolutely abysmal and an offensive roster full of stars that never got higher than the bottom-10 in goals last season.
If they falter, if they come out looking as flat as they did under Kompon, it could be a long start to the season. It could also start to raise a lot more questions about personnel on the ice rather than off.
No team with six to seven 30-plus-goal scorers should struggle like the Kings offense struggled last season.
An Injury to a Star
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When I say "star," I mean one of the following: Quick, Kopitar, Richards, Brown, Carter, Doughty.
The Kings' top players, like on any team, are hugely important to the success of the franchise. With the way the squad is structured, an injury or multiple injuries to one of the former would be devastating.
The Kings were fortunate to have an entirely healthy club for almost the entirety of the playoffs. That's rare. It would be a real battle for the team if Kopitar or Richards were to be hurt within the first month of the season.
Given the wild offseason and the limited amount of rest the team as a whole gets playing all the way into June, it's not out of the question to think someone could get hurt.
Hopefully, everyone stays healthy and the Kings can compete—at least for a while—with the team intact.
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This is Grade A, No. 1, the ultimate of ultimate disasters that could happen to the defending champs.
Now, I am a positive thinker. I'd like to believe that the NHLPA and the NHL will work something out and get this season going either in September or shortly thereafter (a la NBA).
But if the Kings were unable to defend their title the following year, if they were unable to go into their opening home game and raise a banner for the fans, it truly would be the most devastating thing possible.
From an economic standpoint, the Kings would probably lose a lot of new fans and ticket sales from those who jumped onto the bandwagon during the cup run and decided, "Hey, I really like hockey; I think I am going to stick around."
Not being right back at it next season, they would also lose a foothold in the ultra-competitive L.A. sports area.
And let's think about the players. They would lose that adrenaline and that pride of stepping on the ice come October with everyone still remembering Game 6. The following season, everyone would be a year older, a year removed from the game and the circumstances of the CBA might change the playing field drastically.
Keep your fingers crossed, because this honestly is the most looming and threatening of scenarios to the defending champs.