What a finish. After 8 1/2 months of great hockey, the NHL officially enters the offseason. Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings and our friends over at Jewels From The Crown. (And always remember, your championship run started right here in St. Paul with a 3-2 shootout win on Opening Night.)
We all knew the Kings were an elite team, but their journey through the playoffs this year was pretty extraordinary. They went through the toughest competition in dramatic fashion and provided the perfect balance of skill and toughness. Regardless of your opinion of the Kings, Gaborik, Dustin Brown, or even Bailey the mascot, it's always special to watch the Stanley Cup presented to a new champion. Big congrats to Justin Williams, a most deserving Conn Smythe winner.
The Stanley Cup also serves another purpose: motivation. 29 teams looked on last night, only to work even harder today to achieve the ultimate goal. Welcome to the offseason. NHL Draft: 13 days away. Free agency: 17 days away. Stick around the Wilderness for up to date news and speculation. On to the Walk:
With lots of young talent, Wild is taking careful look at trade market | Star Tribune- Chuck Fletcher is keeping quiet on possible summer moves, but it appears the team will be patient and not make any rash decisions. I'm still betting on some kind of big trade come draft day.
2014 Wild Draft Preview: Forwards | State of Hockey News- An in-depth look at possible forward prospects the Wild could take with the 18th pick and beyond.
Stanley Cup Round-Up
Los Angeles Kings fans realize these special times - ESPN Los Angeles- It certainly has been a dominant three years for the Kings.
‘Tears of heartbreak’ for Lundqvist, Rangers | ProHockeyTalk- You gotta feel for Lundquist, who had another terrific game. I hope he wins a Cup someday.
Watch Gary Bettman award the Los Angeles Kings the Stanley Cup - SBNation.com- In case you missed the presentation.
Off The Trail
Kimmo Timonen signs one-year extension with Flyers | Puck Daddy- The 39-year old defensemen will return for at least one more year.
Bylsma Should Be Frontrunner For Canucks Coaching Job- Bylsma and Vancouver would seem to work on paper. Despite the playoff struggles, he's still a good coach.
The 5 types of players in every dressing room before big games- A behind the scenes look before the skates go on.
The limitations of evaluating goaltender performance (Trending Topics) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Wins, GAA, and SV% just don't tell the whole story for a goaltender.
Comparing NHL teams to World Cup countries- Humorous comparison to that other big event in Brazil.
NHL Grab Bag: The Cup Runneth Over- Weekly Grab Bag, always a good time.
And finally, in case you missed this: