First off, I’d like to say thank you to everybody who reads MayorsManor – from the loyal daily readers, to the occasional people just passing by. I appreciate all of you and there will plenty more hockey coverage between now and the start of training camp next fall – including coverage of the draft, free agency, the Kings Summer Development Camp and so much more. We already have several former Kings players lined up for interviews in the weeks to come. So, fear not – you can still get your hockey fix right here.
Now, back to business…
Even though the Kings lost their playoff series to the Sharks this year, it was a grueling six games that reminded me of the series with Edmonton in 1991.
That series ended in six games as well – four of them went to overtime and two needed double overtime. The Kings trailed 3-1 in that series also before winning game five. They came back to Los Angeles for game six and lost to the Oilers 4-3 in overtime. A heart breaker for all Kings fans.
This year was similar. Three games needed overtime – the Kings lost all three. And the Sharks won all three games at Staples Center, including game six last night.
Regardless, several Kings showed great heart and determination throughout the series. The top five candidates for the team’s 2011 Playoff MVP are listed below…
Kyle Clifford – Do I really need to explain what he did? Nobody had more goals or more points. Nobody probably had more heart.
Willie Mitchell – Quietly became the Kings best defenseman this season. Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty will get more publicity and bring more offense. Yet, Mitchell brought a new element to the team this year. Plus
Jonathan Quick – Some critics will look at his goals-against-average in this series and dismiss him as a candidate. However, you’d be hard pressed to put even a small fraction of those goals on him. The defense broke down on him – a lot – in this series. He played tremendous and was one of the main reasons the Kings could have easily won five of the six games.
Ryan Smyth – Terry Murray put it best the other day, what Smyth brings isn’t on the stat sheets. He is a professional’s professional. He provided solid defensive play, chipped in with some offense and brings leadership to the team. His goal in game six is about as clutch as you’ll find. His five points (two goals, three assists) in the series tied for the team lead.
Justin Williams – From the guy who wasn’t supposed to play, to the guy who stole the headlines in game one. He gave it his all, even if he wasn’t 100%. Big props for showing up when it counted most and trying to push the Kings into the second round. His three goals tied for the team lead.
Honorable mention – While I don’t think he’s deserving of competing with the five guys above, I do want to say – Trevor Lewis played his best hockey as a King in this series. Great job, Elvis. Ditto for Kevin Westgarth. Westie 2.0 was a completely different player.
Who gets your vote?
Poll closes at noon on Wednesday, April 27.