The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff All-Postseason Team
Well, it's all over now. Hard to believe there won't be anymore hockey until NHL training camps reconvene in September.
Wait, that's only about two-and-a-half months away! Let's get those season previews in.
Anyway, the Kings' elimination of the Rangers capped this season, and so it's time to honor the best players and coaches. The All-Stanley Cup team is broken into three units and, as you might guess, features a lot of guys from the Kings.
But many other teams are represented too, as winning the Cup isn't the only way to wind up on this list. The players who made the most of the games they had with impressive numbers or clutch plays earned a spot.
On to the slideshow.
All-Playoff 3rd Team
Coach: Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens
Even with the loss of Carey Price early in the Eastern Final against the Rangers, Therrien thought outside the box with Dustin Tokarski and did well to get his team to extend the series to six games.
Goaltender: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
It was a shame he had to get hurt in Game 1 against the Rangers. To that point, he'd been outstanding, with a .919 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average.
Left defenseman: Paul Martin, Pittsburgh Penguins
In 13 postseason games, he posted a solid eight assists and a plus-seven. The loss to New York certainly wasn't his fault.
Right defenseman: Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
In 16 postseason games, he posted 15 points (three goals).
Left wing: Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild
The Wild's $98 million man was solid with 14 points in 13 games.
Right wing: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
While there were times in the Western Final he got a little too quiet, he still scored a couple of big goals and finished the postseason overall with 20 points in 19 games. Not bad.
Center: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
While the Kings did a pretty good job on him in the Western Final, it still required a yeoman effort, and Toews was nearly a point-per-game player in the postseason (17 points in 19 games).
All-Playoff 2nd Team
Coach: Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers
He got a little too conservative in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, but to get New York as far as he did required effective coaching.
Goaltender: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Let's face it: The Kings had to win a few games in spite of him. But there were an awful lot of big saves at the right times for the Kings, and he had to play a lot of hockey.
Left defenseman: Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
His game-winning goal in Game 6 was a great moment for him and the Hawks.
Right defenseman: P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
He probably got a little tired as the postseason went along, having to play 30-plus minutes some nights. But he finished with 14 points in 17 games.
Left wing: Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks
He posted 16 points (six goals) in 19 games and was a plus-10. Not bad for a 21-year-old.
Right wing: Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles Kings
Many were skeptical of his trade-deadline worth, but Kings GM Dean Lombardi laughed last, as Gabby was tremendous. Entering Game 4 against the Rangers, he led all playoff goal scorers with 13.
Center: Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings
Speaking of great acquisitions by Lombardi...Carter was tremendous again this postseason, capping a gold-medal performance in Sochi with a silver-Cup showing against the Rangers.
1st-Team Coach: Darryl Sutter, Los Angeles Kings
He doesn't sound all that smart, right? Some of his facial expressions suggest not the keenest intellect, right? Wrong and wrong.
With two Stanley Cups in his first three seasons (two-and-a-half, really) as coach of the Kings, it is time to properly identify Sutter for what he is: a hockey savant.
The most impressive part of this playoff run was his cool, calm demeanor after his Kings lost for a third straight time to the Sharks to open the first round. Down three games to a hungry rival, most coaches probably would have given off an air of "what's the use?" whether they realized it or not.
Sutter, though, is used to doing things the hard way. He likes it like that, having grown up on a farm in Viking, Alberta, Canada.
The Kings sure did it the hard way this time, having to win three Game 7s on the road to make the Cup Final. It's all a credit to their coach, who sees tough things in life as challenges, not obstacles.
1st-Team Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
The Stanley Cup remains frustratingly just out of reach for the man with the otherwise Midas touch in life.
Still, the Rangers would not have gotten close without Lundqvist. He was at his best when the chips were down, winning five straight games in which the Rangers could have been eliminated, following Game 4's 2-1 win over the Kings. In that game, he became the first goalie in modern history to record more than 40 regulation saves in a Cup Final elimination game.
Lundqvist had the league's best save percentage (.927) among any goalie who played more than two rounds and had the best goals-against (2.14) too.
Sure, he'd probably like to have a couple of those goals back from Games 1 and 2 in L.A., but the fact is Lundqvist took the Rangers about as far as they could go.
1st-Team Left Defenseman: Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers
As Bleacher Report's own Jonathan Willis deftly pointed out, McDonagh made a key mistake that helped cost the Rangers a critical Game 2 in L.A. It happens. Otherwise, it's tough to get on much of anything McDonagh did in these playoffs.
He played more than 26 minutes a game in the playoffs for coach Alain Vigneault and chipped in offensively, with 17 points in 25 games. If only his shot in the first overtime hadn't hit the post Friday night in Game 5, he could have been a hero.
The Minnesota native has future Norris Trophy winner written all over him in my book. He's smart, tough and a leader.
If only the Montreal Canadiens hadn't traded him away, it might have been the Habs who played in the Final instead of New York. That trade in 2009 which sent Scott Gomez to Montreal cost Bob Gainey his job and now has been labeled by USA Today's Rick Carpiniello as the "best trade in Rangers history."
1st-Team Right Defenseman: Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Not too bad a season for the young Kings defenseman. A gold medal for Team Canada in Sochi and a Stanley Cup win. That's two Cups and two golds for Doughty since 2010. What's that saying again? Oh yeah, not bad.
Clearly, this is a big-game player. At times, Doughty has been criticized for less-than-inspirational regular-season play, but he brings it when it really matters. Even in these playoffs, he earned praise for doing things like taking penalties—such as the one he took on Rick Nash in Game 3 to prevent a Rangers goal.
Doughty averaged more than 28 minutes a game in the playoffs, over three minutes more than in the regular season. And to think, this guy didn't even become a defenseman until age 12.
"I wasn’t very keen on the move at first," Doughty told the Los Angeles Register's Rich Hammond. "But (youth coach Brad Ostrom) told me how he went through the same process with him. I thought maybe it would be a good idea, and obviously it worked out well."
Yeah, not bad.
1st-Line Left Wing: Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings
He didn't always play on the left side, but for much of the playoffs he did alongside Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik.
The captain of the Kings had a rather unspectacular regular season (27 points in 79 games), but he posted 14 points in 26 games and was strong in all the tough areas.
He's on the perfect team. He doesn't have to be a big scorer. He doesn't have to be a Mark Messier-type leader in the dressing room. He just has to be another ingredient, albeit an important one.
Brown got to lift the Cup for the second time in three years Friday night, flashing his gap-toothed grin for the world to see again.
1st-Team Right Wing: Justin Williams, Los Angeles Kings
He continues to be the best player nobody's ever heard of. Maybe that's a stretch but maybe not. Reebok even forgot to include his name on its official Stanley Cup-winning T-shirt.
To Kings fans, he's Mr. Clutch. He's also the newest Conn Smythe Trophy winner after potting another goal in the Kings' 3-2 double-overtime Cup-clinching win.
"In big situations, he wants to be the guy with the puck. Some guys don't want the puck. They don't want the responsibility. He does," NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick said of Williams to Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski.
Williams had 43 points in 82 regular-season games, then posted 25 in 26 playoff games. He also tied Glenn Anderson's all-time NHL record with his seventh goal in a Game 7 playoff contest against Chicago.
1st-Team Center: Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
How's this for high praise?
"He never has a bad game," Kings coach Darryl Sutter told Los Angeles Times hockey columnist Helene Elliott at one point in the Stanley Cup Final.
Kopitar had to play regularly against Joe Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf and Jonathan Toews in 21 total games of the first three rounds. That would wear out most any center, but Kopitar not only did excellent work defensively against all three stars, he had plenty left over at the offensive end too. His 26 points led all playoff scorers.
He's finally getting the recognition he deserves as arguably the best two-way player in the game.
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