The Los Angeles Kings got a double-overtime winner from Alec Martinez in Game 5 to eliminate the New York Rangers and capture their second Stanley Cup in three years. After a party that probably didn't end until Saturday morning, they get another chance to celebrate with the parade on Monday.
On April 23, the Kings awoke down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks. They had lost the first three games by a combined score of 17-8 and looked primed for a very quick exit. It's nothing short of amazing that they are now preparing for a championship parade on June 16.
Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick led the charge, but it was truly a team effort. A total of 19 different skaters registered a point during the run, and both goalies played. So let's check out all the details for their chance to celebrate and salute the fanbase.
Where: Downtown Los Angeles, California
When: Monday, June 16 at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET)
Watch: Fox Sports West
Live Stream: FoxSportsWest.com
NBC Los Angeles provided a graphical look at the journey to Staples Center:
|Date||High Temp.||Low Temp.||Chance of Rain||Wind|
|June 16||72||58||0%||9 mph|
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports the parade is scheduled to kick off at noon. It will then take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete the one-mile route before arriving at Staples Center for the fan rally, which is already sold out. Weather shouldn't be a factor.
What to Watch For
The one aspect of the parade people from around the country will be watching is the turnout. Hockey fans in Los Angeles have a reputation of being pretty apathetic despite the team's recent success. This is a chance to prove that assumption wrong.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports reported after Game 1 that L.A. had lower television ratings than Buffalo for the opener. The number doesn't mean more people in the home of the Sabres watched the game—just a higher percentage of the viewers in the smaller city.
John Kucko of WROC-TV noted that had changed by Game 5:
Stanley Cup ratings from last night: 1) LA with 12.4 2) NYC with 10.4 3) Buffalo with 9.3. Boston & Minneapolis 6.3. #NHL— john_kucko (@john_kucko) June 14, 2014
The crowd two years ago was estimated at 250,000 by the Los Angeles Police Department. It will be interesting to see whether that number goes up, goes down or remains stagnant. One thing's for sure: It was extremely loud inside Staples Center during the celebration after the clinching game.
Even Mayor Eric Garcetti sent out a message of support after the win:
Welcome home, Stanley. We missed you.— Eric Garcetti (@ericgarcetti) June 14, 2014
The other thing to watch is the overall reaction. As mentioned, the Kings were on the brink of getting eliminated with a whimper. It gives the championship a unique feel, at least from the outside, meaning the welcome should be even more special.
This is also a team that has a high percentage of its players under contract beyond this year. So fans in Los Angeles might be seeing the start of a dynasty. Conn Smythe winner Justin Williams certainly feels that way, as illustrated in comments provided by the Associated Press via ESPN:
"We have a team that simply will not be denied. Every Cup is special. What we went through in 2012 (versus) what we went through this year, huge difference, and we really earned it."
What do you expect from the Kings' parade?
At the same time, there are 29 other teams aiming to knock them off the pedestal next season, and nothing is guaranteed. So it's important for players and fans alike to enjoy the moment because it's a mystery when the next one will arrive.
The weather looks good, and the fan rally is sold out, creating the perfect atmosphere for a big day in L.A. Live. The Kings certainly deserve it after everything they did in order to reach this point, starting with the first-round comeback.
Of course, starting soon everybody will begin looking ahead to next season, but first it's time to celebrate again.