Even as they rolled into the Stanley Cup Finals with a 12-2 record, I wasn't convinced the Kings were the best team.
Part of that may have been denial and part of it may have been a natural inclination to look down on the Western Conference as somehow inferior to the East.
Since I'm a Rangers' fan, I'll be the first to admit I don't follow the Western Conference as closely as the East and that may have been a part of it as well.
But after Monday's 6-1 victory, it's pretty obvious the Kings were the best team, completing a 16-4 run to win their first Stanley Cup. They took out the top three seeds in the West (Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix).
I'm not sure the Rangers - had they gotten past the Devils -- or anyone in the East would have beaten Los Angeles.
It still boggles the mind, however, that the Kings finished eighth in the regular season.
And speaking of obvious, goaltender Jonathan Quick, a Milford, Conn, native, became the third American-born player to win the Conn Smythe trophy, following Boston's Tim Thomas last season and the Rangers' Brian Leetch in 1994.
Quick set NHL records for goalies who played at least 15 games in the playoffs with a 1.41 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage.
Quick's numbers were better than Chris Osgood's 1.51 GAA for Detroit in 2008 and Jean-Sebastien Giguere's .945 save percentage for Anaheim in 2003.
We don't mean to rain on anybody's parade, but we still can't put Quick in the same category as the great netminders of the past (Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur, etc).
As great as Quick's numbers were, they were due in part to the fact that the game has become so much more defensive oriented with an emphasis on shot blocking and collapsing in front of the net. Goaltenders today simply don't face as much pressure as their predecessors.
Heck, I'd go so far to say that Edmonton's Grant Fuhr was the greatest goaltender in NHL history when a save needed to be made it a 5-4 game.
Anyway, the best part about Quick is that he grew up a Rangers' fan and idolized Mike Richter, who won a Cup for the Blueshirts in 1994.
While there were finally some goals scored, Monday's game turned out to be pretty anticlimactic. The Devils were doomed by the one thing that hurt them in the playoffs - an ineffective power play.
The game turned midway through the first period when New Jersey's Steve Bernier received a five-minute major and an ejection for boarding Rob Scuderi, a hit that drew blood.
The Kings followed with not one, not two, but three power plays goals as Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis all scored in a 3:58 span to give L.A. a 3-0 lead. That was all she wrote.
The Devils finished with a penalty-kill percentage of just 74.0 percent, 13th in the playoffs. The Kings, meanwhile, were second (91.9).
How great is Doc Emrick?
Instead of screaming and making himself bigger than the event as some announcers do, he let the moment speak
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, he simply said: "The Kings are the kings."
Then Emrick spoke in reverence of the Stanley Cup, which inded is the best trophy in sports and was first presented in 1893.
There may be no greater traditions in sports than the post-series handshake and the skate with the Cup.
Have Martin Brodeur and Zach Parise played their final games for the Devils?
The 40-year-old Brodeur hinted earlier in the playoffs that he wanted to return whether he won the Cup or not, but on July 1 he becomes a free agent for the first time in his career.
Other than Brodeur, Parise has been the face of the Devils' franchise for the past seven years, but he also is set to become a free agent. And given the Devils' financial woes, it seems hard to imagine that they will be able to re-sign him.
The Rangers need to address their lack of offense and Parise would look great wearing the red, white and blue. Of course, he will have other suitors.