The delirium has passed, but there’s no mistaking that Jarret Stoll is in a pretty good place right now.
The Kootenay Ice alumn won the second Stanley Cup of his career a few weeks ago when Alex Martinez delivered the finishing blow with a double-OT winner to lift the L.A. Kings to a championship victory over the New York Rangers.
Though the Kings initially survived three straight Game 7 series on their way to the final, they were able to dispatch the Rangers in five outings.
However, three of those went to overtime, and two went to double-OT.
A lucky bounce here or there and it could’ve been a different outcome.
“If you’re in the final, it’s going to be a close series, it doesn’t matter how many games it is,” said Stoll, in a recent interview with the Daily Townsman. “It’s two very good teams going at it. The Rangers were a very, very good team, came out of the East and beat some very good teams.
“[They] have a great goaltender, some great forwards, a very fast team that we seen right away in Game One that we had to deal with.
“…I know we beat them in five games, but it very easily could’ve gone to six or seven.”
It’s the second NHL title for the Kings and Stoll over the last three years, as the franchise won their first Cup in 2012.
“It’s aways different; you win in different ways,” said Stoll. “This year, it was definitely a lot different than two years ago. Two years ago, we were up 3-0 in every series, which helps a lot, not only physically in getting breaks between series, but mentally, and getting through the playoffs.”
As they did three years before, the Kings were able to close out their championship on home ice at Staples Centre in Los Angeles. The city had it’s second parade celebration, and the Cup toured the southern part of California.
Now it will be off to spend time with each member of the organization, but Stoll isn’t quite sure what he’ll do when his turn comes around.
“I think I’m going to get it early on in August,” said Stoll. “I took it to Yorkton two years ago and we had a great day in Yorkton and the surrounding area.”
“Just trying to figure out where to take it this time around if I’m going to go back to Yorkton or take it somewhere different.
“Either way, it’ll be spent with family and friends and it’ll be a good day, day and a half of looking back and celebrating.”
Stoll, the most decorated Kootenay Ice alumni in the NHL, was joined by another player who played in the same organization, as Brayden McNabb was called up to the Kings early in May.
Though the two never played major-junior together in Cranbrook, their history with the Ice made it easy bond over their Kootenay connection in the WHL.
“We sat beside each other on the plane,” said Stoll. “I grabbed him and pulled him back there to sit beside.
“Just talked a bit about Cranbrook and how great a city it was and how great a time it was to play there and play for the organization. We had some good teams when I was there and we were fortunate enough to win. He had some good teams when he was there as well, so it was cool.”
No two championship experiences are alike, and the Kings faced much more adversity during their march to Lord Stanely’s Cup.
“This time around, we were behind the eight-ball from Game One, and had to battle back, as everyone knows, against San Jose, then had a very tough series against Anaheim, then we always knew we had to get through Chicago somehow to get our way to the final.
“We did that in seven games and found a way to win it against the Rangers.”
The Kings wrote themselves into the history books with their opening series against the San Jose Sharks, engineering a reverse sweep after going down into a 3-0 series deficit.
Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers have been able to come back and win a playoff series after going down 3-0.
“I’m sure we’ll look back on it years down the road and realize what we done,” said Stoll. “When you’re in it, your focus is so narrow on what you’re doing at the time and just trying to play games and win and find ways to win and come back.
“I think down the road, we’ll actually realize what we accomplished but it just feels pretty cool right now to be on top again.”
After their historic comeback over the Sharks, the Kings moved on to the Battle of Southern California, taking on the Anaheim Ducks.
Again, the Kings found themselves in a 3-2 series deficit after taking an early two-game lead.
But the hockey gods were on the side of royalty.
The Kings won the series equalizer, and punched their ticket into the following round with another win on the road in enemy territory.
That set up a clash with the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks.
L.A. got their first series lead of the 2014 post-season campaign, going up 3-1 before Chicago came back to earn a pair of wins and force Game 7.
Once again, the Kings made it through on another clutch goal from Martinez, who sent L.A. to the NHL finals.