Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How the West was won: LA Kings 2011-12 timeline

"Careful, Dustin, this rug is awfully slippery. We wouldn't want you to fall so easily."
Last night, the Los Angeles Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime to clinch the Western Conference and advance to the franchise's second Stanley Cup Final.  This is good news for us Twitter maniacs, as this means the LA Kings' Twitter account will be busy through the Finals.  So how did this Kings run to the Finals come to be?

June 23rd: Flyers GM Paul Holmgren promises Kings GM Dean Lombardi that trading for Mike Richards would help him land the Richards he really wanted to sign.

June 24th: Mike Richards sends Jeff Carter a sympathy card postmarked Columbus, Ohio.

July 2nd: Brad Richards signs with the Rangers, to nobody's surprise.  Except a very frustrated Dean Lombardi.

July 3rd: Lombardi calls Gary Bettman to see if the NHL has rejected Ilya Kovalchuk's second contract with the Devils yet.

October 7th: The Kings open their season in Sweden (yes, the NHL used to do that...) against the New York Rangers.  Hmm...

October 13th: The Kings play their first game in North America, against the New Jersey Devils.  Hmm...

October 15th: Mike Richards assists on an overtime goal in Philadelphia...against the Flyers.

October 18th: The Kings defeat the Blues, 5-0.  This game accounted for roughly half of the Kings' goals in the first half of the season.  Give or take a few.

December 12th: Struggling to score goals, the Kings fire head coach Terry Murray.  Jonathan Quick became the happiest man in L.A.

December 17th, 2011: Darryl Sutter is announced as the new head coach of the Kings, ending John Stevens' four-game reign, which was roughly as long as Jeff Carter lasted in Columbus.

December 26th: The Kings get their first non-shootout win in the Sutter-era, beating the Coyotes, 4-3, in a game that nobody thought would be a preview of a future playoff series.

January 9th, 2012: Dustin Penner injures himself while eating pancakes.  This marks the second time in two seasons that a breakfast food incident impacted a hockey team.

February 11th: The Kings call up a guy named King.  This would be their second-most significant transaction of the month.

February 23rd: Jeff Carter is traded to Los Angeles for Jack Johnson.  In completely unrelated news, the Kings are nicknamed "Philly West."

April 5th: Ryane Clowe plays a puck from the San Jose bench, resulting in Darryl Sutter almost expressing emotion from the Kings' bench.

April 22nd: Jarret Stoll scores in overtime of Game 5 to knock off the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks.  Canucks fans are too stunned to even bother rioting.

April 22nd: The legend of the Kings' Twitter account is born.

May 13th: The team that employs John Stevens, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne and Justin Williams matches up with Ilya Bryzgalov's former team in the Western Conference Finals.  This leaves Flyers fans feeling slightly ill.

May 17th: Dwight King becomes the most demanded Kings jersey amongst fans.

May 21st: The Kings become the most-watched sporting organization in Los Angeles, overtaking poker, amateur bowling and the Lakers and Clippers.

May 22nd: Dustin Penner scores in overtime to lift the Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals, changing his nickname from "Pancakes" to "LA Kings playoff hero."