It has been rumored the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in professional sports.  Why you may ask?  First a Stanley Cup contending team isn't born in a single season.  It usually takes a few seasons.  Finding the forwards, defence and the all important goalie and backup goalie.  Some players become permanent fixtures on the team signing multi year contacts, other players sign for a year or 2 to fill holes on a team.  After this happens a team plays 82 games in a single season.  For a team to make the playoffs they must be in the top 8 at the end of the season.  The playoff structure is set up with 4 rounds.  Each round is a best of 7 series.  Meaning a minimum of 4 games in every series is played and a maximum of 7 games.  Do the math and a team plays a minimum of 16 games or a maximum of 28 to win the Stanley Cup!  No team wins the Cup in a night, the playoffs take 2 months to unfold. The New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings are heading to the final round this year.  It is not a final anyone predicted but that is NHL hockey.  Below you can get the facts you need to know about these 2 teams.
The well respected Stanley Cup Ring
  Let's start with the New Jersey Devils.  The Devils entered the NHL in 1974. They play in the Eastern Conference in the Atlantic Division.  The Devils have won 3 Stanley Cups.  The first came in 1995, the second 2000 and the 3rd in 2003.  The team has never taken home a Presidents Trophy for most points collected in a single season league wide.  The New Jersey Devils have not always been called the Devils.  They started out as the Kansas City Scouts.  In the 1976-77 season the team was relocated to Denver and became the Colorado Rockies. In 1982-83 the team moved to New Jersey and became the New Jersey Devils. The Devil came from Jersey Devil folklore tale. The Jersey Devil is creature that lives in the Pine Barrens in southern Jersey.  This creature has hooves, flies and has been a tale in the area for over nearly 400 years.  One of the biggest WOW factors in this franchise is the #1 netminder Martin Brodeur has lead the team to all 3 of their Stanley Cup wins!  The Captain leading the team to this hopeful win is 27 year old Zach Parise.  Parise has a lot to live up to because the previous 3 cups were all won with the same Captain Scott Stevens. Below you can check out pictures and 2 different videos of the game 7 highlights in 2003!  The 1st video has more detail on the game and the 2nd video shows the celebration with the Devils win!

The 1995 New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup winning team!
One of my personal favourite hockey players, Scottie Neidermayer! Neidermayer won 4 Stanley Cup total during his career. Three with the Devils and one with the Anaheim Ducks!
The new generation Kings Winning!
The Los Angeles Kings journey is much different then the New Jersey Devils history.  The Kings joined the NHL in 1967 in the expansion as we learned in episode 8 of season 1 of Hockey Talk with Courtney. The Kings are in the Western Conference in the Pacific Division. The team plays currently at the Staples Center along with the LA Lakers and LA Clippers.  The Kings have never won a Stanley Cup but have been in the Finals once in 1993 against the Montreal Canadiens where they lost in 5 games.  Their Captain at the time was none other than Wayne Gretzky.  The have also never won a President's Trophy.  That being said don't let those stats let you think New Jersey is a shoe in for the win.  The Kings started off with a rough season this year but come playoff time they were a team out to win and win they did.  The Kings were up against the 1st seed in the west the Vancouver Canucks.  The Canucks were coming off a second year of winning the Presidents Trophy and making it to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last year.  The Kings beat them in 5 games.  Up next in round 2 was the 2nd seed in the west the St. Louis Blues.  The Kings swept them (swept meaning the Kings won games 1, 2, 3 and 4).  Round 3 was against the 3rd seeded Phoenix Coyotes.  The Kings bumped out the Coyotes in a Game 5 OT win with a goal scored in the first OT period by Dustin Penner.  And now the Kings face the Devils.  Dustin Brown is the Captain of the team and Jonathan Quick is the unbelievable goalie on this crazy run for the cup Hollywood story.  Below check out photos from 1993 and videos.  The 1st video is the Kings winning the Campbell Conference in 1993 and celebrating heading to the Stanley Cup Finals.  The 2nd video is the Kings in their last minute of play and eventual loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the Finals.

The one and only Wayne Gretzky led the Kings to the last Stanley Cup Finals in 1993. I bet Gretzky will be at Staples Center during his former team's run!
Like in any true sportsman like manner the LA Kings were ready to go at the start of the 1993-1994 season with this team photo.
Let there be a Mess!
Series starts May 30th.  Puck drops at 5:00pm

Good Luck to both the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils!


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