Kings winning Stanley Cup also big moment for hockey in United States

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

When the Los Angeles Kings completed their Stanley Cup run on Monday night it wasn't just a huge moment for the franchise, finally getting its name on hockey's ultimate prize.

It was also kind of a big moment for USA hockey as an American-born captain (Dustin Brown) was handed the Stanley Cup, and an American-born goalie (Jonathan Quick) took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Brown became just the second American to captain a team to the Stanley Cup, joining defenseman Derian Hatcher who did it as a member of the Dallas Stars back in 1999.

Quick, meanwhile, became just the third American to win the Conn Smythe Trophy joining defenseman Brian Leetch (with the 1994 Rangers) and goalie Tim Thomas (with last year's Bruins).

Right now the American talent pool is deeper (and better) than it's ever been, and two of its best and brightest young stars were on display throughout the postseason for the Kings as they rolled through the NHL.

Combine Brown and Quick with players like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Bobby Ryan, Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, and David Backes, and the Americans will have a pretty strong foundation going into the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, coming off their Silver Medal performance back in 2010.

Assuming, of course, the NHL participates in the games.

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