Perhaps the biggest asset of all is ownership. Philip Anschutz runs AEG, and the president of his company, Tim Leiweke, is kooky for hockey, always has been. Guiding the Kings to the Stanley Cup has been one of his most burning ambitions. Now that he’s attained that goal, he’s not the type to stop at one.
Again, it isn’t that easy, as Penner explained during the postgame Cup festivities. “It’s such a mental grind,” he said. “There were many times when we could have quit and just said, ‘Oh well, maybe next year.’ But we don’t have those kinds of people in our organization. We have amazing guys here.”
Expectations. They start to sprout almost immediately after championships occur. When you’re the Los Angeles Kings who have never won a Stanley Cup since your inception in 1967, most sports fans will give you a pass. But when you’ve finally ended that skein of futility, and you have a roster brimming with talent, and you have an owner who puts an emphasis on success, people start to yammer about more.
“It’s gonna be expected. We should be one of the favorites to win it next year,” Penner said. “But we’re not going to worry about next year yet. We’ve focused on the next game, the next shift. And there aren’t any for a while.”
But as the coach of an NHL team that might have a few more Cup runs in them? He made it clear he’s amenable to it.
“Take a run at it again,” he declared. “That’s the next thing.”
Yes, rest of the NHL. It just might be.
Michael Ventre is a regular contributor to NBCSports.com; follow him at http://twitter.com/MichaelVentre44.
PHT: Tuukka Rask has frustrated the Blackhawks to the tune of a 1.22 GAA and .959 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Final. Can Chicago find any luck in Game 4?
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Rask credits a team effort on defense
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