Although it’s impossible to survive the grueling NHL playoffs, which requires winning four best-of-seven series to take the title, without solid veteran play and guidance, there’s a lot to be said for youthful enthusiasm—and legs. In a whirlwind, farm-fresh King, 22, and Nolan, 22, bolted out of the minors to deliver major success on hockey’s biggest stage. “Crazy things happen in hockey” King told ESPN, “and I just happen to be part of it right now.”
Few thought the “kids” were ready for the big leagues prior to the season, so both were sent to Manchester. One boisterous voice, team executive Jack Ferreira, disagreed. “He was the guy who was banging on the table in October, saying, “Get those (bleeping) guys out here. Get Nolan and King up here,”’ General Manager Dean Lombardi remembered. “It was, `What are you doing?’ Not only did he think the kids would make us better, but it was like a fit and a feel thing.” Ferreira’s uncanny instincts were proved right.
Below: "Jordan Nolan #71 of the Los Angeles Kings raises the Stanley Cup after defeating the New Jersey Devils in Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California."